What is Child Abuse?
Includes beating, burning or punching a child.
May involve criticizing, insulting, rejecting or withholding love from a child.
Includes rape, touching/fondling or involving a child in pornography.
Includes failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional or educational needs. (Leaving a young child home alone or failing to provide needed medical care may be considered neglect.)
Symptoms of Abuse
Common Behavioral & Emotional Indicators of Abuse
Children who seek counseling exhibit many of the following PRESENTING SYMPTOMS*. One of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center at Eisenhower’s goals is to address these symptoms, when they are the result of abuse, and work toward positive feelings and reduced symptoms. Both sets, along with other indicators, assist clinicians when assessing and implementing a client’s individually planned counseling program and progress.
*Presenting Symptoms behaviors do not expressly indicate abuse has occurred. If there is concern a child may be in an abusive situation, assistance should be sought from law enforcement or a child abuse professional.
Seven Year Old Female
A seven year old female client at the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center created this black and white drawing during her first counseling session. Anger and rage jump from the page – fierce piercing eyes, flowing tears, gnashed teeth and severe close-cropped hair combine to depict emphatic distress and anxiety.
It is notable that the child selected a dark pencil with which to work, and that the figure she draws is not anchored to the ground, but appears to be floating and unsecure.
Her case history reveals an out-of-control child. She reveals herself to be young girl who feels helpless upon witnessing repeated domestic violence between her parents. Her parents did not demonstrate remorse or concern for the on-going trauma they were causing their daughter to suffer.
The drawing appears to show a figure in a running mode, possibly attempting to escape a tortuous home life. The father figure to her right is distorted and incomplete, yet is a threatening presence, with a deeply penetrating and frightening stare. He is depicted yelling the child’s name.
In the drawing, the child, our client, reacts with fear and anger, two emotions that are being addressed in her therapy sessions.