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Child Abuse and Family Violence. Issues and Concerns in Parenting. Overview.

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child abuse and family violence

Child Abuse and Family Violence

Issues and Concerns in Parenting


In this activity you will learn about the important role that parents play in providing a safe and nurturing environment for children. Children who are victims of child abuse or witness violence in their homes while growing up will be affected in both the short and long-term. The supports provided by our society to protect children and their families will be examined.

expectations met in curriculum
Expectations Met in Curriculum

Overall Expectations:

LCV.01 demonstrate an understanding of the challenges facing parents throughout the early-childhood years;LCV.02 describe the role society plays in the lives of children and families;LCV.03 demonstrate an understanding of child abuse and family violence, and outline strategies to secure a safe, non-violent environment for all children.

Specific Expectations:

LC1.01 describe the legal and social responsibilities of parents and guardians (e.g., providing adequate food, shelter, care, education);LC2.03 identify the laws that regulate children and parents in society (e.g., legislation governing child protection, child care, school attendance, child labour);LC3.01 describe the indicators of child abuse (e.g., unexplained fear, unusual or repeated injuries), neglect (e.g., malnutrition), and family violence (e.g., insecurity, lack of trust);LC3.02 explain the strategies and support needed for a child to survive abuse, neglect, or family violence;LC3.03 describe the skills and attitudes that can be developed to secure a safe and peaceful family, community, and social environment;LC3.04 explain the social importance of laws related to child abuse and children’s rights (e.g., responsibility of community for children’s welfare, reporting child abuse).


Throughout this course we have examined the different factors that lead to healthy, positive parent-child relationships. We have come to realize that the environment in which a child is raised will have a huge impact on their future development. A child who is raised in a loving, caring home, is most likely to have no trouble relating to children in a positive manner. For some children home life is not so positive. Unhealthy relationships often lead to abuse, neglect and family violence.

vocabulary child abuse student worksheet
Vocabulary Child AbuseStudent Worksheet

1. Child abuse:

2. Physical abuse:

3. Emotional abuse:

4. Sexual abuse:

5. Neglect:

6. Shaken-baby syndrome:

7. Coping Threshold:

vocabulary child abuse teacher key
Vocabulary Child AbuseTeacher Key

1. Child abuse: Any physical or mental threat or injury to a child under age eighteen.

2. Physical abuse: Intentional hurting of a person’s body, causing physical injury.

3. Emotional abuse: Actions by a parent or caregiver that interfere with a child’s personal and social development and damages a child’s self-esteem.

4. Sexual abuse: Sexual contact or interaction between a child or teen and an adult; can be physical or nonphysical.

5. Neglect: Failing to provide proper shelter, clothing, food, care, and affection. Can be physical or emotional.

6. Shaken-baby syndrome: Brain damage caused by a fast and forceful shaking of a newborn or infant.

7. Coping threshold: Your ability on any given day to deal with stress.

spilled milk
Spilled Milk

You are sitting around a dinner table and two-year-old Johnny is present. Johnny's mother gives the boy a tall glass of milk. Before dinner has even begun, Johnny reaches for the glass of milk and sends it tumbling over. Mommy patiently wipes it up and returns with another glass of milk.

Dinner begins and Johnny is still thirsty. Again, he reaches for his glass of milk and as he brings it to his mouth it spills all down the front of him. Mommy wipes up the milk and cleans up Johnny. Again Mommy fills the glass of milk and returns to her own plate.

Only seconds after Mommy has been seated, Johnny reaches for a roll and the glass of milk topples and spills. Mommy cleans it up and fills the glass again.

Just then Johnny decides he does not like squash and with a disgusted grunt he pushes his plate away, bumping the glass over one more time, spilling it all over the table and getting others wet this time. Mommy is embarrassed and apologizes to those present, then wipes up the mess and fills Johnny's glass.

Johnny is getting tired and decides he does not want milk to drink but soda pop instead. When Mommy informs him that he will have to finish his dinner and his milk before getting soda pop, Johnny gets angry and throws the glass of milk on the floor, splashing milk all over everyone and everything.

At what point in the story would you have become angered? If you were a parent, at what point in the story would you have become angered? What would you have done in this situation?


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Prevent Child Abuse

child abuse and family violence pre test
Child Abuse and Family Violence Pre-test

Simply choose whether you think the following statements are True or False.

  • Children are more likely to be abused by people they know than by strangers.
  • True False Don't Know 
  • The number of children being abused and neglected is increasing.
  • True False Don't Know 
  • If children don't witness domestic violence (or violence between adults in the home) they are not affected by it.
  • True False Don't Know  

Child abuse can lead to depression, drug abuse and homelessness in later life.

  • True False Don't Know  
  • Boys are rarely victims of sexual abuse.
  • True False Don't Know  
  • Disabled children are more likely to become victims of abuse than non-disabled children.
  • True False Don't Know 
  • Children are sometimes to blame for their abuse.
  • True False Don't Know  
  • The most common form of abuse is emotional abuse.
  • True False Don't Know  

Children make up stories about abuse.

  • True False Don't Know 
  • Children who disclose about their abuse and later retract their story were lying about the abuse.
  • True False Don't Know  
  • It is not always obvious that a child is being abused.
  • True False Don't Know  
  • If abuse happened once it is likely to happen again.
  • True False Don't Know 
  • Child abuse doesn't happen in well-educated families.
  • True False Don't Know  
what are child abuse and neglect
What are child abuse and neglect?

Untold numbers of children suffer abuse and neglect by parents, friends, relatives or child care workers. Statistics don’t tell the whole story though. Many cases of abuse and neglect go unreported.

Abusive treatment of children takes many forms:

Neglect– the failure to provide the necessities of life. This includes things like food, shelter, clothing and health care. Inadequate supervision is also a form of neglect. A child who is left to fend for themselves is at risk. Neglect is a form of abuse where children are left on their own and not given the guidance and supervision necessary to be safe.

Physical abuse – is violence that results in pain, injuries, or both to a child. Deliberately inflicted burns, cuts, and bruises are all examples of physical abuse.


Sexual abuse – takes place when a person in authority (i.e. parent, aunt or uncle, babysitter, older sibling) subjects a child to fondling, rape, or lures a child to be part of some sexual activity. Incest is one type of sexual abuse. It is when sexual activity occurs between people who are closely related (i.e. parent and child).

Emotional abuse – is very destructive and leaves scars that will last a lifetime. It includes things like name calling, verbal attacks, and the withholding of love.

Family violence – is the abuse of power within relationships of trust like a marriage. It most often includes spousal abuse of the female. It can include physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Children who witness family violence often exhibit many of the same symptoms as children who themselves are abused. Children who witness abuse are more likely to become involved in abusive relationships when older.


Stress, including the stress of caring for children, or the stress of caring for a child with a disability, special needs, or difficult behaviors.

Lack of financial resources. Neglect may happen when a parent cannot afford to meet the physical needs of a child. Lack of nurturing qualities necessary for caring for a child.

Inability to control anger and frustration may result in a parent lashing out at others inappropriately.

Lack of knowledge about child development leading to inappropriate expectations for the child.

Isolation from the family or community can increase stress in the home and in turn there are few places to turn for support.

Physical or mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.

Alcohol or drug abuse. Some research has shown alcohol to be involved in approximately 50% of all reported cases of abuse.

Personal problems such as marital conflict, unemployment, or financial difficulties.


Explain what is meant by intergenerational abuse by giving two examples, not previously provided, to show your understanding.


Those who were abused as children are more likely to repeat the act when they become parents or spouses themselves.

Our class will provide their own examples. Examples should show how abuse is a learnt behaviour.

Children learn how to parent from their own parents.

shaken baby syndrome

In the past few years a newly recognized injury to infants and older children has been identified and

described as the "shaken infant syndrome." This is a serious injury and the results can be devastating.

It can cause life-long disabilities and it has a 25% fatality rate.

Usually, shaken infant syndrome occurs when adults become frustrated and angry with their baby and shake the infant strenuously. Most people are not aware of how seriously this can hurt a child.

Many responsible parents with good intentions who would never dream of hitting their child, think nothing of giving a small infant a good shaking. While such punishment is generally considered harmless, the effects of a shaking can be far more grave than anyone could ever realize.


Young infants have very weak neck muscles and only gradually develop the strength to control their heavy heads. If they are shaken, their heads wobble rapidly back and forth, which may cause brain damage and bleeding in and on the surface of the brain (injury can occur even if the head is supported while shaking the infant).

Severe damage of this type is most common in very young infants, but it has happened to even three- and four-year-olds.

never shake a baby did you know that
NEVER shake a baby. Did you know that:

1. Head trauma is the leading cause of disability and death among infants and children?

2. Violent shaking is involved in many of these cases?

3. 25-50% of the American public does NOT know that shaking an infant can cause brain damage or death?

4. The brain keeps vibrating within the skull cavity after shaking occurs.


5. The brain swells, creating pressure, leading to retinal (behind the eye) bleeding, and can lead to blindness.

6. Veins feeding the brain are torn away, leading to brain damage or brain abnormality that cannot

be corrected (learning disability, physical disability, visual disability, speech disability, seizures).

WARNING! If you do shake your baby, either accidentally or on purpose, it is imperative that you get the baby to the emergency room immediately.


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