Many researchers have pointed that the major factors that usually contribute to child abuse are linked to maltreatment. Children who experience maltreatment mainly come from the families and environments where these factors are present. Professional educators that work with children should have a deeper understanding of risk factors in order to spot maltreatment and high-risk conditions. It is necessary for improving the way of their involvement. Nevertheless, not all maltreatment cases are related to the factors that lead to child abuse.
The factors have five categories with the first one being parental or guardian factor. It is associated with the parent’s personal traits, such as low esteem, depression and mental problems, in addition to a lack of parenting skills, especially if a parent has a history of abuse and teenage parenting. Secondly, family factors such as domestic violence, single parenting, and stressful family event related to marital or drug abuse, can be high risk factors as well. Thirdly, child factors such as prematurity, disability and a particular age may heighten the cases of mistreatment. Environmental and societal factors such as high rate of unemployment and poverty, few social services and aggravated crime rates may increase the level of child abuse. Finally, other factors such as sexual, emotional, and physical abuse are high-risk factors (Better Health Channel, 2013).
The potential signs indicating that a child has been abused, and which the professional educators should be aware of, are generally physical signs, such as burns, poor hygiene, frequent hunger, bruises, and sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea. There are also behavioral signs such as alcohol and drugs abuse, theft, early sexual relationships, cautious of their parents, and idleness of a child to reveals him or herself about the abuse. After an educator has observed one of the described signs, they should take the responsibility of reporting to the children’s protection agencies. If there are reasonable grounds showing that a child has been abused, the agencies should be informed immediately in order to prevent the further abuse.