Child abuse and depression often go hand in hand. Children who have been abused have had their basic trust in others and the world shattered. They may often feel guilty or to blame for the abuse, defective, bad, unloved, unwanted and insignificant as well as helpless or hopeless. Therefore, unconditional, non-judgmental, warm and otherwise supportive attention is greatly valuable in helping them overcome their depression.
If you are caring for a child who was abused by another family member, remember you are not to blame. Additionally, please do not talk poorly about the abuser in front of the child. They are important to that child regardless of what they have done. Often, a boy's self esteem is measured by his opinion of his father and a girl's self esteem by her view of her mother. Therefore, attacking these individuals in effect is an attack on the child. Even if the child expresses anger and negative opinions of their parent/caretaker, please do not engage in this repertoire yourself. It is normal and totally understandable to have mixed feelings about the person including anger but use your support system to vent these feelings.
Sometimes caregivers of abused children feel sorry for the children in question and in an effort to be supportive, inadvertently treat them as if they were defective. You may feel bad about setting limits, denying requests or setting boundaries. However, these limits and boundaries are exactly what they need in order to feel safe and secure. They don't need to be allowed to break rules, treat others poorly, nor get everything for which they ask. However, they do need to feel safe. For a physically abused child, corporal punishment may not be the best choice of action.