Human abuse is categorised as:

Physical Abuse

Physical harm such as hitting, smacking, biting, pinching, bullying, pushing, shaking etc) Over-medicating a person Unnecessary restraint Withholding food or drink

Sexual Abuse

Unwanted sexual behaviour forced on vulnerable adults (persons of 18 years or older that are unable to take care of themselves), who can't or doesn't give their consent Unwanted sexual attention, teasing and touching Incest and sodomy Sexual acts involving children. On www.pandy's.org child abuse are described as sexual touching, penetrative sex (penis or mouth), engaging a child in sexual activity (including masturbation), intentionally having sex in front of a child, showing child pornography, using a child to produce pornography or encouraging a child to partake in prostitution.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse

Actions that breaks down a person's self confidence, sense of self worth and trust in their own abilities Shouting and swearing Ignoring a vulnerable adult Humiliating and patronising a person Denying privacy Discrimination, such as insulting language aimed at age, ethnicity, culture, background, sexuality or disability.

Financial/Material Abuse

Borrowing money and not repaying it Using a vulnerable adult's money or property without their permission Theft and fraud

Neglect

When a vulnerable adult suffers due to improper care, or a disregard of their needs.

Institutional Abuse

When helpless adults or other groups of people repeatedly receive poor care due to neglect or a lack of professional practice. It is also a misconception that abuse only refers to a long-term behaviour pattern. Even if it only happens once or a few times it is still abuse. That's why abusive behaviour should always be seen as serious - particularly as it has the potential to escalate over time and develop into other forms of abuse.

Know the signs

Signs of abuse could include: multiple bruising, teeth or finger marks, unexplained injuries, swellings to the face and extremities, skin discolouration, deteriorating health, evidence of poor care, mood changes, withdrawal; inappropriate clothing and a sudden mistrust of people.

Did you know that anyone of 18 years or younger is considered to be a child by law, and is therefore protected by the Child Care Act of 1983? This makes abuse against a child a criminal offence. Children that are being abused are more likely to avoid physical contact, act apprehensively when other children cry, seem frightened, play aggressively and finds it difficult to get along with peers, are often late for or absent from school, give inconsistent versions about personal injuries; complain of pain upon movement or contact.

Childline runs counselling and support services in eight provinces in South Africa and operates a 24-hour toll free helpline. Make that call: 08000 55555.

Prevent Abuse On Human Beings in South Africa

Human abuse has many ugly faces, some more subtle than others, but they are all rooted in the intent to cause harm to another person.

The South African Department of Health defines human abuse as a violation of a person's human and civil rights by deliberately or unknowingly causing someone physical or emotional harm, or negatively affecting his/her development and wellbeing.

However, the most shocking aspect of human abuse is how common and acceptable some of these behaviours have become in our society.

Know the signs

Signs of abuse could include: multiple bruising, teeth or finger marks, unexplained injuries, swellings to the face and extremities, skin discolouration, deteriorating health, evidence of poor care, mood changes, withdrawal; inappropriate clothing and a sudden mistrust of people.

Did you know that anyone of 18 years or younger is considered to be a child by law, and is therefore protected by the Child Care Act of 1983? This makes abuse against a child a criminal offence. Children that are being abused are more likely to avoid physical contact, act apprehensively when other children cry, seem frightened, play aggressively and finds it difficult to get along with peers, are often late for or absent from school, give inconsistent versions about personal injuries; complain of pain upon movement or contact.

Childline runs counselling and support services in eight provinces in South Africa and operates a 24-hour toll-free helpline. Make that call: 08000 55555.

Trust your instincts

The sooner signs of abuse are detected and acted upon, the greater the victim's chance to heal from its damaging effects. Don't ignore tell-tale signs, trust your instinct. You might be saving a life.


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