Friends and relatives who knew Gisella Ford described her as a smart, respectful, and mature eight-year-old. She died from multiple injuries from abuse and neglect, inflicted at the hands of relatives. And although she was surrounded by family, Gisella was neglected so badly that at the time of her death, maggots were found infesting an injury in her scalp (Read more here).
Unfortunately, Gisella’s tragic story represents just one of thousands in our nation.
Interpersonal victimization is the most prevalent cause of child abuse–abuse committed at the hands of family and friends–and includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence, and living in households where the chaos of drug and alcohol abuse disrupt the norms of healthy living.
According to an August 23, 2011 article in MedScape, these children face trauma that threatens their integrity, safety, or even life. “The support of a child’s family, along with adequate coping and emotional functioning of the child’s parents, may very well mitigate against the development of PTSD in a child exposed to trauma.”
The degree of trauma experienced by the child is influenced by
For this reason, children (adults as well) process traumatic events in different ways.
If you suspect a child is experiencing neglect or abuse, take appropriate steps to investigate or report. If you are the parent or guardian, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a physician or licensed counselor.