What are the Causes and Signs of Child Abuse?

There has been a sharp upsurge in the number of child abuse cases seen in today’s society. Child maltreatment can be described as any intentional mistreatment of a person younger than 18 years. Besides leaving the abused child with bad memories and unfading scars, child abuse can also be a daunting experience for the rest of the family. One way to help these victims is by getting CPS. In this article, you will learn more about the causes of child abuse and its signs.

The Causes

Several factors contribute to child abuse in today’s world. Sometimes it can be one cause, while in other cases, it can be a combination of two or more factors. The perpetrators of child mistreatment are mostly people known and trusted by the child. They include the parents, relatives, and caregivers. Some of these causes include:

Stress or Depression

Times are hard, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Children may not know it, but most adults are going through a rough period in their lives. Financial problems, relationship issues, divorces, and issues at work bring stress to many parents and caregivers. The chances of such an adult psychologically maltreating a child are very high. When the parent is in a stressful situation, they may have challenges satisfying their child’s emotional needs.

Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

Substance abuse has been ranked among the top factors contributing to child maltreatment today. The main types of abuse resulting from this alcoholism and drug abuse are intentional neglect and physical mistreatment. It is more likely for parents who abuse alcohol and drugs to initiate child abuse with kids five years old and below.

Domestic Violence

Domestic misunderstandings have become life-threatening, not only to the quarreling adults but also to the children in that household. Research shows that men who harm their female partners are more likely to abuse their children, too.

Poor Parenting Skills

Most parents can take care of their children in the right way. However, some lack such skills and are poor managers of their physical and emotional needs. Such parents may initiate child abuse by equating it to disciplining the kids. These parents must get counseling and learn more about parental roles.

Mental Instability

A mentally challenged parent may withdraw from their kids even at an early age, subjecting them to prospective child abuse perpetrators. The withdrawal can be caused by manic depression or any other mental illness.

The Signs

Although these cases have skyrocketed, there is, fortunately, a way to help the victims. However, you first need to understand which signs to watch out for. Children may have a problem talking about the abuse they undergo, maybe because they are not comfortable doing it or cannot vocalize it due to their young age. Below, you shall learn about the signs of different forms of maltreatment;

Physical Abuse

  • Unexplainable injuries, bruises, or burns

Sexual Mistreatment

  • Early pregnancies
  • Sexually transmitted infections in children
  • Inappropriate sexual relationships with other children
  • Sexual knowledge is inappropriate for a child’s age
  • Statements of sexual abuse


  • Poor hygiene
  • Slow growth, significant weight loss, or weight gain
  • Unstable school attendance
  • Lack of proper clothing and other basic needs
  • Taking items without permission
  • No proper attention to psychological, medical, or dental issues

Emotional Abuse

  • Low self-esteem and lack of confidence
  • Desperate attention and affection seeking
  • Low school performance
  • Social withdrawal
  • Slowed down emotional development
  • Depression
  • Lost interest in school work

Child abuse is real. Today, it has become more prominent globally than before. Different institutions, organizations, and governments are doing everything possible to fight this monster. If you want to be part of the war, you first need to read and understand the causes of child maltreatment and which signs to watch out for, as discussed above.

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