New Review Emphasizes the Importance of Identifying Childhood Verbal Abuse
In a groundbreaking new review, researchers from UCL and Wingate University are highlighting the need to recognize childhood verbal abuse as a distinct form of child maltreatment. The study, which was commissioned by the charity Words Matter, examines 149 quantitative and 17 qualitative studies on childhood verbal abuse.
Child maltreatment is commonly classified into physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. However, this review reveals that childhood verbal abuse often goes unrecognized and is not given the attention it deserves. Researchers are calling for a consistent way of defining and measuring childhood verbal abuse, as it varies between parents and cultures.
The nature of childhood verbal abuse includes belittling, shouting, and threatening language. These actions can have lasting emotional and psychological repercussions on children. The review highlights the increased risks of anger, depression, substance abuse, self-harm, and obesity associated with childhood verbal abuse.
It is crucial that childhood verbal abuse by adults is acknowledged and addressed to prevent long-term harm to children. Data from the World Health Organization shows that emotional abuse, including verbal abuse, is now the most prevalent form of child maltreatment.
The research further emphasizes the need for clear definitions and standardized terminology for childhood verbal abuse. This will allow professionals in various fields to effectively identify and address this issue. Parents, adult caregivers, and teachers were identified as the main perpetrators of childhood verbal abuse, with shouting and screaming commonly reported characteristics.
In defining childhood verbal abuse, researchers suggest considering the intent, delivery, and immediate impact on children. However, more research is needed on specific age groups to fully understand the effects of childhood verbal abuse.
To combat this issue, a newly established charity called Words Matter aims to curtail verbal abuse by adults in children’s lives. By enhancing overall health and well-being, the organization hopes to provide a safer environment for children to grow and thrive.
The review’s findings shed light on the often-overlooked issue of childhood verbal abuse. It is important for society to recognize and address this form of child maltreatment, as it can have severe consequences on a child’s development.
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