Child and Elder Abuse


  • Child Abuse
  • Types of Child Abuse
  • Consequences to Child Abuse
  • How to Report Child Abuse
  • Elder Abuse
  • Types of Elder Abuse
  • How To Report Elder Abuse

Child Abuse

Statistics show that most abused and neglected children never come to the attention of government authorities. This is particularly true for neglected and sexually abused children, who may have no physical signs of harm. In the case of sexual abuse, secrecy and intense feelings of shame may prevent children, and adults aware of the abuse, from seeking help. Therefore, official government statistics do not reflect actual rates of child abuse.


Child abuse is defined as causing or permitting any harmful or offensive contact on a child’s body; and, any communication or transaction of any kind that humiliates, shames, or frightens the child. Some child development experts define child abuse as any act or omission, which fails to nurture or hinders the upbringing of a child.


The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect as: failure to act on the part of parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.


Types of Child Abuse

The major types of child abuse are: Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Neglect and Commercial/Other Exploitation.

  •  Physical Abuse – Is the infliction of physical injury upon a child. This may include: burning, hitting, punching, shaking, kicking, beating or otherwise harming a child. The parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child; the injury is not an accident. It may, however, been the result of over-discipline or physical punishment that is inappropriate to the child’s age.
  • Emotional Abuse – Also known as verbal abuse, mental abuse, and psychological maltreatment, includes acts or the failures to act by parents or caretakers that have caused or could cause serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional or mental disorders. This can include parents/caretakers using extreme and/or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement in a closet or dark room or being tied to a chair for long periods of time or threatening or terrorizing a child. Less severe acts, but no less damaging are belittling or rejecting treatment, using derogatory terms to describe the child, habitual scapegoating or blaming.
  • Sexual Abuse – Is inappropriate sexual behavior with a child, it includes fondling a child’s genitals, making the child fondle the adult’s genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism and sexual exploitation. To be considered child abuse these acts have to be committed by a person responsible for the care of a child (for example a baby-sitter, a parent or a daycare provider or someone related to the child). If a stranger commits these acts, then it is considered sexual assault and handled solely by the police and criminal courts.
  • Neglect – Is the failure to provide the child’s basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional. Physical neglect can include not providing adequate food or clothing, inappropriate medical care, supervision or proper weather protection (heat or cold). It may include abandonment. Educational neglect includes failure to provide appropriate schooling or special educational needs, allowing excessive truancies. Psychological neglect includes the lack of any emotional support and love, never attending the child, spousal abuse, drug and alcohol abuse including allowing the child to participate in drug and alcohol use.
  • Commercial/Other Exploitation – The use of a child in work or other activities for the benefit of others. This includes, but is not limited to, child labor and child prostitution. These activities are to the detriment of the child’s physical or mental health, education or spiritual, moral or social-emotional development.

Consequences to Child Abuse

  1. It will encourage your child to lie, resent, fear and retaliate, instead of loving, trusting and listening.
  2. It will alienate your child from you and the rest of your family & make him/her recluse.
  3. It will lower your child’s self-esteem and affect your child’s psychological development and ability to behave normally outside his home.
  4. When your child grows up, your child could probably carry on the family tradition and abuse your grandchildren.
  5. Your child may exclude you from his adult life. For example, you may not be allowed contact or relationship with your child or future grandchildren.

How to Report Child Abuse

  If you are concerned about the safety of a child and suspect child abuse or neglect you can call the Imperial County Child Protective Services at 760.337.7700 (Day) or 760.337.7750 (After 5:00 p.m. and on weekends). If you are not sure that it is child abuse, they will be able to help you with the answers to your questions. You can also call 1-800-422-4453.


Elder Abuse

Federal definitions of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation appeared for the first time in the 1987 Amendments to the Older Americans Act. These definitions were legally defined to provide guidelines for identifying the problems and not for enforcement purposes. Definitions of Elder Abuse & Mistreatment vary considerable from state in terms of what constitutes abuse, neglect or exploitation of the elderly


Elder abuse or mistreatment is classified in three basic categories:

  • Domestic Elder Abuse – Any of several forms of maltreatment of an older person by someone who has a special relationship with the elder (a spouse, sibling, child, friend, or a caregiver), that occur in the elder’s home, or in the home of the caregiver.
  • Institutional Elder Abuse – Abuse that occurs in residential facilities for older persons (e.g., nursing homes, foster homes, group homes, board and care facilities). Perpetrators of institutional abuse usually are persons who have a legal or contractual obligation to provide elder individuals with care and protection (e.g., paid caregivers, staff, professionals).
  • Self-neglect or Self-abuse – Neglect is defined as refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties. Self-neglect is a controversial category in relation to elder abuse. The following questions lie at the heart of this controversy. If an individual is competent but chooses to neglect their personal health or safety, is this abuse? Potential factors leading to self-neglect may include: long-term chronic self-neglect, dementia, illness, malnutrition & overmedication, depression and substance abuse. Is intervention, particularly, involuntary intervention, appropriate is cases of self-neglect? These questions depend on the individual case and circumstances, you should seek professional assistance to guide you in making these determinations.

Types of Elder Abuse

The major types of Elder Abuse include the following:


Physical Abuse:

Defined as the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. Physical abuse may include but is not limited to such acts of violence as striking (with or without an object), hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching, and burning. In addition, inappropriate use of drugs and physical restraints, force-feeding and physical punishment of any kind also are examples of physical abuse.


Signs and symptoms of physical abuse include, but are not limited to:

  •  Bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations, and rope marks
  • Bone fractures, broken bones, and skull fractures
  • Open wounds, cuts, punctures, untreated injuries in various stages of


  • Sprains, dislocations, and internal injuries/bleeding
  • Broken glasses/frames, physical signs of being subjected to

punishment and signs of being restrained

  • Laboratory findings of medication overdose or under utilization of

prescribed drugs

  • An elder’s report of being hit, slapped, kicked or mistreated
  • An elder’s sudden change in behavior; and
  • The caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors to see an elder alone.


Sexual Abuse:

Sexual abuse is defined as non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly person. Sexual contact with any person incapable of giving consent is also considered sexual abuse. It includes, but is not limited to, unwanted touching, all types of sexual assault or battery, such as rape, sodomy, coerced nudity, and sexually explicit photographing.