Child Abuse

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Child Abuse


By definition, child abuse refers to the physical, emotional and sexual mistreatment of underage persons. In the world, there exist many evils, but the one that is noted to cause great harm is the child abuse. For instance, when a child is sexually molested, the child would not only suffer the physical torture, but there would also be the psychological and emotional torture. The child may end not even getting married if he or she was molested sexually, or he or she may develop another attitude towards all people who resembles the character of the abuser. Others develop a negative behavior such as being introduced to drugs at early age because they were neglected in one form or another. It is therefore paramount that this issue be observed with great care lest it explodes in our society. This paper looks at this issue critically and by use of a number of child abuse topics, the issue becomes known as a dangerous and negative thing to adopt.


The Concept of Child Abuse. Havelin (4) writes that thousands of children are neglected and abused in North America each year, and the fact is that most of the abusers are actually the parents to the children. There exist four main types of child abuse; the physical abuse, the sexual abuse, the emotional abuse and the child neglect with neglect being the most kind of the child abuse (Havelin, 4). The picture of an abused child is saddening and some of these children are subjected to tortures that can even hurt the adults. Examples are the children subjected to the military or live in environments that are characterized by wars or violence. Other children find themselves in situations of extreme hunger and poverty, and such kind of children grow knowing no peace or comfortable living. The children who are abused sexually at tender age have their organs destroyed and even though the physical harm can be treated, what would never escape the mind is the emotional and the psychological harm afflicted to the child.



Facing the Issue: The Grief and Mourning in Child Abuse. Children who are subjected to child abuse by their parents, their teachers, the guardians or the outsiders are put to real grief and trauma. Sturt (66) writes that trauma is the biggest cause of death in children and a significant account of these traumas is attributed to the child abuse. For example, a toddler can be neglected and left to wander in the streets looking for its own food. Such kind of a child develops a sense that he or she is not wanted in the family, and because he or she needs a number of factors to survive, the child may develop serious trauma, which can even lead to death.  For example, a neglected child under the age of two years can easily die if the childhood neuro-trauma is inflicted on him or her. However, one of the biggest traumas that can result to this is the one that results from sexual harassment. For instance, if the father is the cause of this, the child may come to hit all men regardless of how good they are in their lives.



Gerrits (5) notes that any form of child abuse results to some real lack of trust, or in itself, it is an abuse of trust. The emotional abuse as discussed by Gerrits (19) is the worst and when they are combined with the psychological torture in the child, they can run all through in the life of the child. For a boy child, it is possible that the child can even turn to other dangerous means of living such as drug abuse or engaging in criminal acts. If the child is neglected at such an early age, it is possible that the child would develop his or her own means of living, and anything that would offer a quick solution would be adopted. The emotional and to some extent the psychological torture on the child is the hardest to define and this can include among others degradation, name calling, destruction of personal belongings, ridicule, excessive criticism and general torture. Others can be like destruction of his or her pet, withholding communication, inappropriate or excessive demands, humiliation and routine labeling.


Child Abuse Prevalence. Wilson (52) notes that the prevalence rates based on the English young adults, that is, those who are in the age range of 18-24 years is 7% and this is based on the self reports. This means that this could be higher than the stated with assumption that there are people who care not to report the issue. Of this, either 6% is neglect, 4% maltreatment, 15% sexual abuse by a family member or a non-family member and 14% experience intermediate levels of the physical abuse. Another 9% represent the intermediate level of the neglect, and with these figures/rates, it only spells negative about the society that we live in. Benson (2) adds that the prevalence rates as well as the incidences for the maltreatment in the kids aged 0-3 years cannot be ascertained. This is because there lacks an accepted definitions of the various treatment universally and that there is many mistreatments that go unreported. However, in the United States, the average reporting of child abuse especially the neglects are about 3 million each other year.

The Risk Factor in Child Mistreatment. There are risks involved when considering infant maltreatment and in essence, child maltreatment happens in a most complex social as well as the interpersonal circumstances (Benson, 2). Even though there are limited risk factors when it comes to child mistreatment, it is obvious that children who are subjected to such kind of torture can develop a hard kind of life. In this, those persons who mistreated the person may in actual sense be the target when the person reaches adulthood. It therefore spells the high need to be wary whenever a person is mistreating the other because the things that you give the person may come to haunt you in future. Stith (13-29) gives three major risk factors that are involved in the mistreatment of children. These are; the family conflict, the parent anger/hyper-reactivity and the family cohesion. In the above, it is clear that whenever a child is subjected to torture, it either brings lack of cohesion in the family; there is total parent anger, and unending conflict in the family. 

When there is child abuse by use of all forms, there are a number of risk factors that are involved, and among them, they fall into the category of individual risk factors, the family risk factors, and the community risk factors. In individual risk factors, it is possible there could be parental stress that includes depression and some other mental health conditions, while still; there could be substance abuse in the family. For the family risk factors, there is the social isolation of families, extreme poverty and socio-economic disadvantages such as unemployment as well as lack of education and the poor parent- child relations.

Still on the family risk factors, there are the social isolation of families, dissolution of family values, violence, family disorganization and intimate partner violence. For the community risk factors, there is the community violence whereby, it is possible that extreme violence in the community may contribute to child abuse; or when there is lots of child abuse, it is possible that there may end up being community violence. There are some risk factors, which concern victimization, and when considering the individual risk factors in this, the concern is that children who are under four years are exposed to great risks of severe injury, which may lead to death. More to this, there may be occurrence of disabilities in children, mental retardation among the young ones and this would generally increase the overall caregiver burden.

Parenting Child Abuse. It has dawned that parents are the main child abusers, and therefore, it can be argued that what lacks in the family is good parenting. Children are abused by the people who brought them here on earth. To this end, it is crucial that all parents understand how well to handle children to prevent child abuse. There are things that parents do that are considered as child abuse or that which can make the child feel neglected. For example, use of abusive language by parent when directed to a child; and more so, when this is done in front of other children can harm the kid psychologically. Some children are denied opportunities to be with their colleagues and while some parents may argue that this is protecting the kid from possible harm, it leads to isolation of the kid from the general social growth, and therefore, he or she may feel much neglected.  

Previously, the discussion has noted that there are a number of risk factors involved, and therefore, if the parent at all wants to have his or her child grow in the right way, he or she should avoid such kind of things occurring. Barth (95-118) notes that mental illness, substance abuse, child conduct problems and domestic violence can lead to child maltreatment, and with this knowledge, it is good that all parents avoid having their children subjected to this. One-way of ensuring that there is good parenting is providing the child welfare services and this is by having the parent train the kid on these. For instance, the issue of having a child with stable mind and good thinking can be trained by the parent in sequential manner (Barth, 95-118). Observing every other steps of growth for the kids and the adolescents can to a large extent help the kid grow knowing what to do and how to solve some of the small problems that face them. The emphasis in Barth (95-118) is improved parenting which puts the kid as the primary focus and parents should avoid at all being the abusers of these kids.

The Controversies in Child Abuse. While people may think no controversies that come with child abuse, the fact is that there are a number of controversies entangled with this issue. Actually, the question that is asked is whether or not child abuse is a serious problem, and that is how this issue is put by everybody on the table to look at it critically. For example, one of the controversy concerns the ritual child abuse where, the general public is always confused by the media reports of the cases that have different outcomes. The issue of the ritual child abuse has been polarized and there are myriad issues that are entangled in it. As well, the lingering issues as to what exactly constitute child abuse; for example, to what extent should the parent mistreat his or her child? 


There existed various mistreatments, human rights violation, wars, violence and other forms of misguided societal behavior. However, of the behaviors that are likely to fan some kind of societal human destruction is the child abuse, and from the analysis, it is clear that there is a need for a paradigm shift in this. Children are abused daily, and the resultants are like deaths, development of criminal gangs in our societal and unproductive society. Some of the violence in children is done by the parents and other close family members, and they do this in disguise of correcting the child. For instance, a child who is sexually abused by this or her father or any other family male member may become traumatized for life, and this may lead to the person hating marriage and institutions concerned with this when he or she grows up. The discussion has focused on a number of concepts involved with this and this includes the controversy that can be noted in it. Significantly, there are some analyses that look at the issue of the controversies entangled in the issue and ask the questions as to what constitute child violence on whether or not is a problem.

Works Cited

Barth, Richard P. Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect With Parent Training: Evidence and Opportunities. The Future of Children Publication, Fall 2009, Vol. 19 (2), pp 95-118  

Benson, Janette B. Social and Emotional Development in Infancy and Early Childhood. Oxford: Academic press, 2009. Print.

Gerrits, Julie. Child Abuse. New York: Crabtree publishing, 2010. Print.

Havelin, Kate. Child Abuse: Why Do My Parents Hit me? Minnesota: Capstone Press, 2000. Print.

Stith, Sandra M. Risk factors in Child Maltreatment: A Meta-analytic Review of the Literature. A Journal of Aggression and Violent Behavior, Feb 2009, Vol. 14 (1), pp 13-29. Print.

Sturt, Stanley M. Child Abuse: New Research. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc, 2006. Print.

Wilson, Kate. The Child Protection Handbook: The Practitioner’s Guide to Safeguarding Children. Philadelphia: Elsevier limited, 2007. Print.


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