In Spain, around 15 percent of children under 15 years of age are subjected to some type of abuse, as highlighted by the pediatricians gathered in Madrid for the celebration of the 9th Pediatric Update Course. These specialists have referred to several studies, conducted at the national level, that reveal that the child abuse affects one in six Spaniards under 15 years of age.
In the opinion of these professionals, they are the ones in the best position to detect possible cases of abuse or sexual abuse, something vital to reduce their incidence, especially considering that, as Dr. Jordi Pou Fernández, chief of the Pediatrics Service of the Sant Joan de Déu Hospital in Barcelona, a child who has been mistreated has a 50 percent chance of going through a similar situation again, and his risk of dying after having detected abuse for the first time It reaches ten percent if the appropriate measures to protect the child are not immediately established.
Experts distinguish four types of child abuse, although they say that the most frequent is that the same child shows signs of more than one of them
As the experts explain, four types of abuse are distinguished, although the most frequent is that the same child shows signs of more than one of them. Physical aggressions, abandonment or neglect of the child's needs, and sexual abuse are easier to identify thanks to physical symptoms, while in the case of psychological abuse, it must be suspected in certain attitudes and behaviors of the child, such as that is too childish or too mature for their age, that presents a psychomotor retardation, that has learning problems or low academic performance, that behaves aggressively or is apathetic, that manifests an excess of manias or phobias ...
Situations of sexual abuse usually occur in the child's family environment, and it is almost always close relatives who carry out the abuse. Although the abuse is physical, it is also a psychological abuse, and pediatricians point out that special attention must be paid to the stories or drawings of the child, which may be the first signs that the child is experiencing an anomalous situation.
Dr. Pou emphasizes that, contrary to what is usually thought, physical abuse is the least frequent, although it can become very serious if it is not detected early, and includes what is known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychological disorder that one of the parents suffers (almost always the mother), which leads him to take actions to pretend that the child is sick, to the point of stopping feeding him, administering substances that cause vomiting, or intentionally infecting him , all in order to draw attention and appear before others as a person suffering and focused on the care of their child.
The lack of attention or abandonment is the most common type of abuse, and although it is more common among the marginal sectors of the population (people with limited economic resources, low cultural level or toxic habits), it can occur in all social classes, and it translates into lack of hygiene and medical attention, inadequate food or clothing, and insufficient supervision by adults that can compromise the safety of the child who, in addition, is often deprived of access to education because they do not carry it either. to school.
Source: Spanish Association of Primary Care Pediatrics