Child abuse also called cruelty to children, the willful and unjustifiable infliction of pain and suffering on children. The term can denote the use of inordinate physical violence; unjustifiable verbal abuse; the failure to furnish proper shelter, nourishment, medical treatment, or emotional support; other cases of sexual molestation or rape; and making of child pornography. Frequently described by the medical profession as the ‘battered child syndrome: Abusive treatment of children is almost universally prescribed by criminal statutes .
In the present study total 149 adolescent girls between the ages 13 to 16 years, were interviewed at three purposively selected schools of Dhaka city. In religion majority ware Muslims, most (42.3%) of them were 1st child of their parents and majority (53.0%) belonged to 5-6 member size family. This result accords with our national statistics . Among them majority (62%) were 13-14 years old and living with their parents in a single family. It is evident from the findings that the school going children’s father, (48.3%) were service man. Another group stated that 47% of the father’s occupation was business and majority (43.2%) had monthly income <10,000 BDT. Among the mother’s 128 (85.9%) were mainly housewives and other 17(11.4%) was service women. This result does not correspond to our national statistics; maybe they belong to privileged group of our country who resides in the capital city. In developing countries numerous studies across many countries have shown a strong association between poverty and child maltreatment8. The abuse against children mostly occurs in the poor income group. Numerous studies across many countries have shown a strong association between poverty and child maltreatment [8,9].
Regarding the source of hearing about child abuse, majority (82%) heard from TV, which accords with national findings . About type and seriousness of abuse shows that slapping was found moderate in (41%), caning was found moderate (48%), cigarette burning was regarded as serious abuse by 91%, captivate in room serious by 53%, compel to study long against desire mild (42%), scolding was regarded as moderate (32%) type of abuse. Child strike such as, caning  physical torture by not giving food, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, are regarded as serious harms [5,6]. Forcible de-clothing was regarded as serious abuse by 49%, Compel to sexual activity was regarded as serious by majority of the (86%) respondents and Compel to view sex picture was also regarded as serious abuse by majority (82%) of the respondents. Children and adolescent girls are the primary victims of sexual abuse .
Regarding causes of child abuse, 70.5% said due to “Too much mental stress”, finding similar with national finding . About 86% opinion reported that girls are more abused. Findings are similar with the study by Anwar et al. . Distribution by more prevalent type of abuse, 66.4% said physical, distribution by abusers, 47.1% said by nearest relative. What is more horrifying is that the abusers of this gruesome act are people whom the children are familiar with i.e. family members, family friends, neighbors, domestic servants, teachers, even those who teach them religion . Effect of child abuse was regarded as 94.0% psychiatric disease. Abused child often suffers from deep emotional scars and a feeling of worthlessness .
Regarding abuse by parents, 77.9% forbid to go out. They can learn anger management and child rearing techniques, and try to suppress their violent tendencies through conscious and diligent effort at all times . Respondents about their types of abuses shows, 62% had slap but in their school, majority (80%) had caning. Respondent’s knowledge about abuse was found poor (32%) and average (59%) in 15-16 years age group, and good knowledge was found more in 13-14 year’s age group.
Regarding knowledge about child abuse, average level (67%) was found more in illiterate, and good level (18%) of knowledge was found more in HSC and above group. Similarly, poor level of knowledge was found more (36%) in mother’s educated up to SSC level, average level (73%) was found more in illiterate, and good level (19%) of knowledge was found more in HSC and above group. They are all symptoms of disordered parent- child relationship . Poor level of knowledge was found more (32%) in lower income group (<=Tk.12,000), average level was found more (61%) in lower income group and good knowledge was found more in higher income group (>Tk.12, 000).
Poor knowledge was found more (30%) in 5 or more member family, average knowledge was more (59%) in 5 or more member family and good knowledge was found more (16.3%) in 1-4 member family size. Child abuse was found more in low socioeconomic status and large family size [4,10,13]. Trocme and colleagues [14,15] highlighted poor knowledge and poor income are highly associated with child abuse and maltreatment.
Perception was found poor (23%) and average (47%) in 13-14 years age group, and good (35%) perception was found in 15-16 years respondents. Father’s Perception was found poor (44%) in illiterate father, average (54%) in HSC and above educated father and good level was found (33%) in up to SSC leveled father’s education. Mother’s perception was poor among illiterate (45.5%), average (51%) and good (34%) perception was found in HSC and above educated mothers. Poor level of perception was found more (29%) in lower income group (up to Tk. 12,000), average and good level was found in higher income group (>Tk.12, 000). Good (38.6%) level of perception was found among 1-4 member family, Average (49.5%) level was found among 5 or more member family. Opinion about child abuse prevention, majority (60%) to increase the awareness of the people, 26% to enforcement of law to prevent child abuse, 19% to increase the education status of the people, 17% said parents should revised about child mentality and only 1% gave opinion about parents should give enough time do their child. Social weariness can protect children from such abuse and its consequences . Reducing the incidence of child abuse is a matter of education and intervention . Traumatized children should be treated with medically or psychologically .