There are four main models of abuse: •The medical model •The sociological model •The psychological model •The feminist model (Green, 2007, p251) describes the models of abuse as follows: The medical model – this model sees the abuse as an illness or a disease needing a cure. In some cases there is the potential for a cycle of abuse; the abuser parent’s ability to parent appropriately may have been affected by poor attachments with the main carers in their lives, and this may then be repeated with their own children.
The attachment theory was developed by John Bowlby in 1971. His theory suggests that if a mother and her child have a significant separation in the first five years of the child’s life it could lead to physical and social difficulties. Separation can cause the child to feel neglected, they may become aggressive and could lead to them neglecting their own child when they are older, making their child feel how they felt. www. lycos. com/info/attachment-theory–john-bowlby. html
In the 1970s, Mary Ainsworth expanded on Bowlby’s theory and identified three main styles of attachment; secure, ambivalent-insecure, and avoidant- insecure attachment. http://psychology. about. com/od/loveandattraction/a/attachment01. htm This theory isn’t very effective in helping to identify child abuse – not every child who has grown up without a mother has turned out to be aggressive or feel neglected. Also, this model does not explain sexual abuse Kempe, an American paediatrician stated that there are four main signs which may help to predict abuse: – there is a parent with the potential for abuse (not parented well themselves or were victims of abuse) 2 – the child displays behaviour which the parent is unwilling to deal with 3 – there is a stressful incident which serves as a trigger 4 – the family live in a culture where discipline/corporal punishment is encouraged www. answers. com/topic/child-abuse The sociological model – this model links abuse to the social environment, and includes poverty, unemployment and the make up of the family.
The Social Structural Theory was introduced by Gil in 1970. His theory states that child abuse is class related, with mainly lower class children suffering from child abuse. His theory suggested that parents feel pressured and strained due to being in poverty, and take their anger and frustration out on the child. In 1975 and 1978 he developed his theory, blaming the government for causing child abuse due to lack of sufficient facilities. Gil’s theory was supported by Parton in 1985.
This theory is not effective because not all children in poverty are abused – although physical child abuse is closely associated with deprivation, emotional abuse and child sex abuse is not usually linked with class and poverty. www. scotland. gov. uk/Publications/2003/05/17127/21832 The psychological model – this links abuse to the abuser’s previous experiences, including role models, bonding with parents and the abuser’s upbringing. This model also acknowledges that ability to understand the care needs of a child may also be a reason for abuse.
The Individual Interactions Perspectives and Child Abuse theory was written by Minuchin in 1974, his theory was defended by Wolfe in 1985. Minuchin’s theory states that if parents don’t know how to look after their children they will abuse them; the child is also affected by the parent’s relationship. If parents don’t understand how to look after a child, they become stressed and unfairly blame the child, for example for their lack of money. This theory is very effective because it shows that both couples and/or single parents who have a child and who do not know how to look after them properly may abuse the child.
Even if the parents aren’t intentionally abusing the child, they are still neglecting the child by not giving them the basic needs, for example what types of foods to feed the child, how to keep the baby hygienic in an appropriate way etc. The feminist model – this model looks at the role of women, and focuses on how children and women are offended against, rather than offences committed by women. The feminist model theory is that men feel superior and can therefore dominate women. However, women are as guilty as men in physically abusing children. ww. scotland. gov. uk/Publications/2003/05/17127/21832 Some mothers may choose not to protect their children from an abuser, whilst others are unable to protect them from abuse. The feminist model agrees on some points with other models and theories, for instance the family dysfunction theory. This theory states that an abused child is not to blame; that the abuser is entirely responsible, but the family dysfunction model then goes on to blame the family breakdown, and ultimately blame the mother.
The feminist model is partly effective in identifying potential child abusers, if it is known or suspected that a caregiver is suffering from domestic violence then it is likely that the child be being abused, either by the man/woman beating their partner, or even by the parent that is being beaten. It is only partly effective though as it focuses on men, and as stated previously, women do also abuse children. http://www. opdv. state. ny. us/professionals/coordination/model_policy/childwel. tml The table below demonstrates things which may contribute to the reason why abusers abuse, and highlights similarities and differences between the four models. ModelUpbringingParenting skillsAttachment/BondingPoverty MedicalNoYesYesNo SociologicalNoPossiblyNoYes PsychologicalYesYesYesNo FeministPossiblyPossiblyPossiblyPossibly The medical model is similar to the psychological model, as one thing identified in both of these models is bonding and poor attachment.
However, it is also different to the psychological model because the medical model is thought to be caused by an illness, but the psychological model is linked to how the abuser was brought up. The medical model is not totally effective in identifying potential abusers if just the attachment theory is used, but if you look at the model as a whole, it is partly effective. ( The attachment theory is not effective, as it concentrates mainly on mother – child relationship and not the make up of the family).
The feminist model could be classed as being similar in one respect to the three other models – it may be due to the way the mother was brought up (the psychological model), she may well have been brought up in poverty (the sociological model) and also the medical model which suggests there could be a cycle of abuse, because of the way she was brought up and if she had poor attachment with her parents. The feminist model is also different to the other models because it concentrates on the fact that most mothers are abused, rather than the abuser. The feminist model is the least effective model to identify potential child abusers.
The sociological model could be seen as being slightly similar to the psychological model of abuse, the sociological model highlights the support structure (other family members for example), and the make up of the family – a single parent for example is more likely to be in poverty if there is no support to help look after the child, and may well be on benefits, or in a low paid job. This model is good in that it can be effective in identifying potential physical abuse, but it is not effective in identifying potential emotional or sexual abusers, as these types of abuse are not usually linked to class.
The psychological model has one area in which it is similar to the sociological model – the abusers knowledge of how to look after a child, which could also be linked to people living in poverty, in poor housing and possibly unemployed, which could be because they were not well educated. This lack of education at school could then also lead into poor general education of how to look after a child properly. The psychological model is therefore quite effective in identifying a potential abuser. Figures on child abuse by parents show that parents who abuse tend to be young, single parents, and/or have a lack of parenting skills). Bibliography www. answers. com/topic/child-abuse www. lycos. com/info/attachment-theory–john-bowlby. html http://www. opdv. state. ny. us/professionals/coordination/model_policy/childwel. html http://psychology. about. com/od/loveandattraction/a/attachment01. htm www. scotland. gov. uk/Publications/2003/05/17127/21832 Green, S. (2007) Children’s care, learning and development. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes Ltd.