Child Abuse


http://www.flickr.com/photos/phildowsing/1162711857/in/photostream/Question: 

Your website gives a lot of info on domestic violence, defined as abuse between couples, but what about child abuse? Do you have any articles or resources on that? I really need them. I suffer from PTSD, ADD, depression, and anxiety because of intense physical abuse and emotional neglect. Can you please help me? I have a therapist who is very good and also spiritual, but he cannot provide for the Islamic component.

Answer: 

Child abuse can be a form of domestic violence. According to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), child maltreatment is defined as:

“Any recent act or failure to act on the part of parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”

Child abuse includes non-accidental physical injury, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Although any of the forms of child abuse may occur separately, they often occur in combination.1

In the United States, each year more than one million children are confirmed by child protective services to be victims of child abuse and neglect, and every day, a minimum of three children die as a result. Violence in the home is a major factor that contributes to child abuse and neglect.2

Islam is very clear about the importance of establishing peaceful and healthy family relationships. The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) taught us to be gentle with children, and there are numerous examples from his life that demonstrate his love and compassion for young people. For example, we know that he would greet his children affectionately, play with them, and listen to them.

Unfortunately, child abuse and neglect can lead to a variety of mental health problems, as you’ve shared with us. The good news is that you are seeking therapy. A therapist does not have to be Muslim to help you heal, but it may help to provide your therapist with information about your faith and share resources about Islam and mental health.

You may find some of the following articles/websites helpful for yourself and your therapist:

Child Abuse and the Muslim Community:

http://mentalhealth4muslims.com/2010/06/27/child-abuse-the-muslim-community/

Forgiving Your Parents & Learning to Move On:

http://mentalhealth4muslims.com/2012/04/29/forgiving-your-parents-learning-to-move-on/

Project Sakinah: http://www.projectsakinah.org/

Peaceful Families Project: http://www.peacefulfamilies.org/index.php

FaithTrust Institute: http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/resources/articles/Advocating-for-Muslim-Child.pdf

Counseling Muslims: http://www.routledgementalhealth.com/counseling-muslims-9780415988605


WebbCounselors is a collaborative advice column produced by two WebbAuthors, Amal Killawi, a Clinical Social Worker with a specialization in mental health and marriage education, and Munira Lekovic Ezzeldine, a Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in premarital counseling. Please note that our counselors are not religious scholars and will not issue religious rulings. To read our full disclaimer, please visit our disclaimer page. To submit questions to the WebbCounselors, please email webbcounselors@suhaibwebb.com.

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  1. Prevent Child Abuse: http://www.preventchildabuse.org/about_us/faqs.shtml []
  2. Lung, C. T. and D. Daro. 1996. Current trends in child abuse reporting and fatalities: The results of the 1995 annual fifty state survey. Chicago, IL: National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse. []

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