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Child Abuse (cont.)

Differing Cultural Norms for Child Rearing

Various cultures have different cultural norms with respect to appropriate behavior toward children.

  • Some cultures are more "touchy" than others.
  • Some believe in physical discipline to an extreme.
  • There are cultures in which certain things that are done to children out of caring create the appearance of child abuse.
  • In some cultures, rituals are performed. These same rituals may be unacceptable in the country in which you live.

In general, the laws of the country in which you live are the laws that must be obeyed.

How Can We Prevent Child Abuse?

Child abuse is prevented, first, through awareness, then early detection and intervention. Protecting children from abuse is the first and foremost concern of police and child protection authorities.

  • Educating children to recognize inappropriate behaviors (sexual and physical) and to report possible abuse to their parents or family at its earliest stages will help children avoid being abused, save families from dysfunctional interactions, identify real abusers almost immediately to law enforcement, and help in the early identification of family members with abusive tendencies before a criminal act occurs.
  • In an ideal world, psychiatric help would be available to treat those who abuse children. That is rarely the case. Most abusers, once they have acted out and committed acts of abuse, are arrested, charged, tried, convicted, sent to prison, and marked for life as sexual offenders.
  • To prevent abuse by changing the behavior of the abuser (whether they are a loved one or a friend), tendencies to be abusive must be identified before any actual abuse takes place. Once a tendency is identified, the best hope for treating this serious mental disorder is behavioral counseling.

Medically reviewed by Margaret Walsh, MD; American Board of Pediatrics


Chadwick, D.L. Color Atlas of Sexual Abuse. Chicago, Ill: Mosby, 1989.

Dwek, J.R. "The radiographic approach to child abuse." Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research 469.3 Mar. 2011: 776-789.

NICE Clinical Guidelines. When to Suspect Child Maltreatment; 2009.

Pandya, N.K, et al. "Unexplained Fractures: child abuse or bone disease? A systematic Review." Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research 469.3 Mar. 2011: 805-812. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Service: Administration for Children and Families. 2010 Child Maltreatment Report)

Wilson, C.A. "Special issue of child maltreatment on implementation; some key developments in evidence-based models for the treatment of child maltreatment." Child Maltreatment 17.1 Feb. 2012: 102-106.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/21/2017

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