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The Most Common Types of Child Abuse (Part 2)

Updated: Apr 2, 2023

Most of the people who perpetrate child abuse are the child’s parents. This may be surprising considering that the rate of child abuse is 8.9 per 1,000 children. As I mentioned previously, emotional abuse and neglect are two of the most common types of child abuse, but they aren’t all. Here are two others.

Physical Abuse

It should come as no surprise that physical abuse is one of the most common types of child abuse. Physical abuse is defined as any act of harm that’s committed against a child that results in injury, even unintentional injury. This abuse is a common cause of child mortality and for those who are lucky enough to make it into adulthood, there are numerous mental health issues they’ll need to learn how to cope with.

Some of the types of physical abuse a child may face include:

· Shaken baby syndrome (severely shaking a baby)

· Hitting or beating with a fist or object (e.g., my mom use to beat me with a belt)

· Intentionally burning a child

· Tying a child up

· Kicking a child

· Waterboarding (or otherwise depriving a child of air)


There are various symptoms that a child may exhibit due to this type of abuse. These include bruises, burns, and broken bones that parents attempt to hide with clothing or blame on another child in the home. You can also look at the type of medical care (e.g., delaying medical care, frequently changing pediatricians, frequently visiting the emergency room) a child with any of these symptoms of the most common type of child abuse receives.

Sexual Abuse

Not only is sexual abuse one of the most common types of child abuse, but it’s also one of the hardest to discuss. (Please note that this section may cause unknown triggers.) It’s defined as any type of sexual activity occurring between a person 18 years old or older and a person 17 years old or younger. Additionally, any sexual act conducted in the presence of a child is also considered sexual abuse. It’s important to also note that the perpetrator is typically someone whom the child already knows.

There are many different types of sexual abuse. Some of the most common types include:

· Sexual intercourse of any kind (e.g., oral, vaginal, anal)

· Molestation

· Assaulting a child with an object

· Masturbating or showing genitalia in the presence of a child.

· Calling or texting a child in a sexually explicit manner

· Child pornography (It doesn’t matter if you produce, own, or distribute it.)

· Incest

· Female genital mutilation


Sexual abuse, which is one of the most common types of child abuse, may occur once or multiple times. Regardless of its frequency, it has lasting effects on the child’s health causing such things as changes in eating habits, recurring pain during urination, sexually transmitted diseases, and even pregnancy. It’ll also affect their mental health causing such things as substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations. Additionally, children may exhibit inappropriate sexual behavior and avoid taking off their clothes.

Why is this information so important for people to know?

Now that you know more about the most common types of child abuse, it’s my hope that you’ll be able to identify them when you see them. Children deserve to be treated well and the rate of child abuse today is showing that this isn’t happening. While this is unfortunate, I’m just one of the many examples out there that change is possible, and a better life is within your reach. If you need support, contact Healing Family Trauma in Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I’m here for you!

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