Child Abuse and Neglect - Treatment Overview
The first treatment priority for
abused or neglected child is to provide a safe
environment to prevent further harm. Early treatment gives a child the best
chance for physical and emotional recovery. This includes separating the child,
as well as any other children in the household, from the suspected abusive
parent or caregiver.
A wide variety
of therapies may be used for both children and parents. Specific treatment
depends on the type of abuse, who inflicted it (perpetrator), and in what
setting it occurred. Health and legal professionals work as a team to develop
the most effective program using their training, experience, judgment, and
Treatment for physical injuries
Treatment for an
abused or neglected child depends on the nature of the abuse. If a child's
injury or neglect has caused a life-threatening condition, such as
shaken baby syndrome (also called intentional head
injury), treatment will be given in a hospital setting. Less serious physical
injuries, such as cigarette burns on the skin, will be treated on an outpatient
basis with scheduled follow-up appointments.
Treatment for emotional injuries
recommended for all children who are victims of abuse or neglect. For very
young children, this treatment may involve
play therapy. Counseling for children of all ages
- How they feel about
- Their past experiences.
- Fears and concerns
they may have about the present and future.
Treatment for parents or caregivers
caregivers who have abused or neglected a child also need treatment. The type
of treatment depends on the specific abuse that occurred. Some people need more
education on effective parenting techniques. Others may need treatment for
other serious problems, such as:
Parents who have lost custody of their children may
regain it. Whether they do so depends on the severity of the abuse or neglect
and a professional evaluation of their rehabilitation progress. In severe
cases, future contact between parent and child must be supervised. Sometimes
all parental rights are lost.