Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. While physical abuse might be the most visible sign, other types of abuse, such as emotional abuse or child neglect, also leave deep, long lasting scars. Some signs of child abuse are more severe than others. However, by learning common types of abuse and what you can do, you can make a huge difference in a child’s life. The earlier abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal from their abuse and not keep repeating and seeing flashbacks.
Learn the signs and symptoms of child abuse and help break the cycle, finding out where to get help for the children and their caregivers. Child abuse today is a constant threat to our children and the death rate from child abuse is growing more and more from year to year especially children ages 5 for boys and girls 12 and older. Abused children usually come from poverty communities. Children who are abused need to be removed from the situation to keep them from being abused any further. I hope as I research child abuse, I can find ways to prevent it from happening in my community and surrounding areas.
As a result of child abuse 1 to 5% of child in the United States are treated every year by a physician for injuries that have resulted from child abuse in some way. Child abuse is a physical or mental abuse of children. Many people have different meanings for child abuse and use that meaning to decide whether the child needs to be removed from the home and put into foster care. This abuse usually comes from parents and caregivers and usually happens in the child’s home. There are some cases where child abuse in schools or in extra-curricular activities in which the child is involved with.
According to the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect child abuse is, “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm. ” According to Lifespan Development child abuse is legally defined as “physical or psychological injury that results from an adult’s intentional exposure of a child to potentially harmful physical stimuli, sexual acts, or neglect. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
What this is for is to inform the awareness of child abuse and neglect and to try to persuade all people in a community to support those families that are in trouble with child abuse and neglect, as well as, help with ways to prevent it from happening with families that don’t have child abuse in their homes. The Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) schedules various events during this month to help prevent child abuse. One of those events is called the Blue Ribbon Campaign. The Blue Ribbon Campaign was established in 1989 for the purpose of a Virginia grandmother to tribute to a grandson she has lost due to child abuse.
What the grandmother did was tying a blue ribbon to the antenna of her car in memory of her grandson, and kept that ribbon there the entire month of April. This resulted in the community wanting to help prevent and to do this a number of individuals in the community started it to it as well. Now I would like to discuss several type of child abuse. The first being physical abuse, which is physical aggression given to the child by an adult involving striking, burning, bruising, choking and/or shaking a child. This abuse makes up 22% of child abuse today and is said to be one of the leading causes of death in children.
A couple of examples of physical abuse are shaken baby syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome. Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a form of abuse that occurs when the infant or small child has been shaken with extreme force. The estimated injury for children is between 1,200 and 1,600 a year and unfortunately almost 2,000 die as a result. However, SBS can also be fatal as well as cause severe brain damage. The most popular cause for SBS is an uncooperative baby or a baby being extremely fussy resulting in that the caregiver or parent loses patience. The death rate of the SBS ranges from 15 to 38 % which is the result for half of the deaths of child abuse in the United States. A way to prevent SBS is to ensure parents, caregivers, and babysitters are warned of the danger of SBS and the outcome that could occur if the abuse is performed. The other form of physical abuse I would like to discuss is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FAS is a disorder than can occur to an embryo when a woman consumes any amount of alcohol during pregnancy. What FAS does is causes a stunt in growth or weight, cause physical, mental, or behavioral problems, as well as other physical features.
FAS is the leading known cause of mental retardation. FAS affective rate is estimated to be between 0. 2 and 2. 0 cases per everything 1,000 births. This is compared to Down syndrome and spina bifida. There is one simple way to prevent FAS, and that is to avoid drinking any alcohol at any time during pregnancy. Although doctors’ say a little bit of wine won’t affect the baby, it is best not to take the chance. The second one I would like to discuss is child sexual abuse (CSA). This happens when a child is an approach from an adult or an older adolescent for sexual stimulation. This abuse makes up 8% of child abuse cases.
Some forms of this is asking or pressuring a child into sexual activities where outcome isn’t an issue, exposing genitals to a child, or displaying pornography in any manner. Some other ways are: having actual sexual contact with another person while child is present, having any kind of physical contact with the child’s genitals as well as looking at their genitals, and using nude pictures of child to product for pornography. Some effects of sexual child abuse is depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, propensity to re-victimization in adulthood, and physical injury to the child.
Approximately 15% to 25% of women and 5% to 15% of men were sexually abused as children. In which 30% of that is comes from relatives of the child. Usually 60% are other family friends, caregivers, and the other 10% comes from strangers. A good way to prevent sexual child abuse is to only let your child be in the care of those that you trust and know that under no circumstances would that happen with the individual. And another way is to never leave you children alone outside where there are strangers. The third on I would like to discuss is psychological/emotional abuse. This appears to be the hardest to define due to the rate of activity.
It comes from name-calling, ridicule, degradation, destruction of personal belongings, excessive criticism, excessive demands, and/or humiliation. This abuse makes up 4% of child abuse today. This kind of abuse can cause abnormal or disrupted attachment disorder (mood swings), and self-blame, which means the victim usually blames themselves for the things that happen. Most victims of emotional abuse usually distance themselves from the abuser and/or fight back by insulting the abuser. A way to prevent this is to try and maintain a flexible relationship with your child or children and ensure you compliment them at what they do well.
The final one, which is the most common, is neglect. This is another common cause of death in children today. As a parent, guardian, caregiver, and/or nanny, it is your responsibility to ensure that neglect doesn’t take place. To do this we have to avoid the different kinds of neglect, those being food, water, clothing, education, and medical purposes. As a parent it is our responsibility to ensure that the child is nourished by giving them a proper and healthy diet. To do this we need to do the shopping several times a month if necessary. Keep fruits and vegetables and let them have a snack.
It is also the responsibility of the parent to provide proper apparel for the proper time of year for the child to wear. If there is a need for money, there are consignment shops as well as goodwill stores that can provide those necessities if needed. This would include uniforms for education as needed. There are also many other donation places that low income families can get help from. As a parent we are also required to provide our children with the fundamentals to keep good personal hygiene. We also need to provide a good education for our children to ensure they can succeed as an adult.
To do this we need to enroll them in school at the proper age to ensure they have the capabilities to keep up with the others. And last, but I’m sure not least, would be to ensure we give our children proper medical care. To do this we need to keep up with immunizations and yearly check-ups to ensure child has no issues to be treated. We need to give proper medication and proper doses as advised by the physician. Some children have to take medication on a daily basis for various disorders and such. Parents and/or caregivers need to understand the importance of medications and need to know the proper requirements of disbursing it.
I would like to discuss some risk factors of child abuse. Some risks may include sociocultural factors, characteristics of the child and the abuser, and stress in families. Sociocultural factors sometimes conclude that emotional abuse may be moral. Meaning, raising voices to children to reprimand them is considered to be discipline. This normally appears with those children that have mental or physical disabilities. For example, children with ADHD act out a lot and the results of their acting out is the parent raising their voice to reprimand them.
In return sometimes this could get out of control and lead to screaming. Children having disabilities can result in parent depression which can also result into child abuse. There are some results from child abuse. One of those being, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which usually involves depression, anxiety, flashbacks, and sleeplessness. Once the abuse stops children can usually recover from the abuse is less than a year. Sometimes this will require counseling on both the child and the parents and maybe even parents taking parenting classes.
Another result is victimization and stress disorder. This usually occurs from children who have been terrorized from sexual abuse. There are some long term affects to child abuse as well, the most important being psychological effects. When children are abused for long periods of time they tend to become distant from family members or their friends. The develop performance problems as well as behavior problems in school. When they become teenagers they tend to take up smoking, drugs, or even alcohol abuse. It puts them at a greater risk for criminal violence that leads to incarceration time.
It can also put them in a state of mind to where they stay unemployed all their life and unable to support their families. Finally, it could cause suicidal thoughts or maybe even suicidal attempts with some being successful. Now I would like to talk about prevent of child abuse. To start a prevention process we need to be education on child abuse. In do this we will inform parents and caregivers of the risks and physicals acts and outcomes of the child abuse. Parents need to be educated on the fact that injuring a child is a crime and can result in incarceration.
Another way is for parents to attend some parenting classes or some parenting seminars on child abuse. This is used to educate parents on how to maintain their own emotions as well as their child’s emotion to prevent the abuse of their child or children. This can also educate parents on different discipline methods that may work instead of abusing their children. Another way to prevent child abuse is to get together as a community and identify those families that are abusing children. Normally the people in the community that recognize these situations are medical staff. These are usually found during routine checks.
If parents are identified by a medical staff they may be asked to attend some parenting classes for some further education on the raising of children and how to handle the situations in a more parental way instead of abusing their children. If child abuse is found by a medical staff person they are required to report this abuse to the police department or even the child protective services (CPS). Once into the system the families are investigated as well as checked upon on a regular basis. In a lot of cases, after being reported, abused children are removed from their home by the CPS.
This is usually only for a short period of time and is for the best concern of the child or children. Once the parents have sought counseling and took parenting classes then the children are usually placed back in the home with the biological parents. However, in some cases children are terribly abused that the CPS doesn’t see it fit for the children to return home to the biological parent. In this case, the child is either placed with a different family member, but in most cases are placed into foster homes until they are adopted by the foster parent or some other responsible couple.
In my opinion people who have witnessed child abuse and do not report it must be abusing their children themselves. I have experienced some child abuse situations and have reported them. I had a neighbor that abused their children on a daily basis for neglect, and I reported it every day. The problem here is, when you report this to your local sheriff and your local sheriff says, “I don’t have time to do a case like that right now” people tend to not want to report child abuse because of the authorities. This leads to a substantial amount of cases not reported and children not being helped. There are some interventions to child abuse cases.
For this reason New York became the first state to implement some laws towards the abuse of children. What this means is that there were laws that were passes against the abusers of children. With that said, the United States Congress passed something called the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act in 1974. What this act does is supports prevention and other activities by providing federal funding to states that choose to support the act and the laws behind the act. There are some myths and facts in child abuse. Some myths are that people believe that it is only abuse if there is violence.
The fact to this is that violence is physical abuse however neglect and emotional abuse can be just as harmful as other abuse. Another myth is that people believe that abuse only happens with bad people. The fact here is that abuse is everywhere although several people and families don’t intentionally abuse their children. A lot of times this is caused from the parents having mental issues themselves. Another fact to this is racial issues. Another myth is that abuse can come from good families. The fact here is that people have different characteristics behind closed doors.
Comer, Ronald J. Abnormal Psychology. 6th Edition. New York: Worth Publishers. Pg. 161, 505
Boyd, Bee, Denise and Helen. Lifespan Development. 5th Edition. New York. Pearson. Pg.181-3.