What is Emotional Abuse?

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Define Emotional AbuseMost States include emotional abuse or “mental injury” in their definitions of abuse or neglect because an action does not need to include force, physical contact or harm in order to be considered abusive.

Emotional abuse may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance. This abuse may even include labeling a child with names such as stupid, idiot or dummy. Acts that reject, belittle or ignore children, terrorize them or isolate them from others can also be considered emotionally abusive.

While emotional abuse most often is observed through behavior, it is possible for children to internalize it so sufficiently as to cause developmental lags, psychosomatic symptoms, and other visible effects.

Furthermore, the psychological part of child abuse whether it is physical, sexual or neglect is almost always considered to be emotional abuse. And, the long-term harm from ANY abuse is most often caused by the emotional aspects, the most difficult category of abuse to substantiate or prove.

From Professional Learning Board’s online continuing education course for teachers: Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse

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