Child Abuse Essay Sample
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Child abuse is an alarming and terrible epidemic that plagues the children in the United States. “Child maltreatment includes all types of abuse and neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or another person in a custodial role (e.g., clergy, coach, teacher).” (CDC) There are different types of abuse- physical, sexual, emotional and neglect. The child protection authorities record about 3 million cases of child abuse every year. According to a report from the Associated Press, an estimate of 786 kids died of abuse in America in a span of 6 years. The agency says that these children had been starved, beaten or neglected.
Factors that Cause Child Abuse
Poverty and Abuse
The family’s socioeconomic status is one of the underlying factors that increases risk for child abuse. “Absent fathers, unemployed fathers, and increased poverty are all associated with increased maltreatment.” (Francis 2015) Poverty poses greater risk for neglect rather than other types of abuse. Children who live with their mothers are likely to be neglected because she needs to divide her limited time in work, personal life and child care. The probability of child abuse is also higher because working single mothers would often leave their kids to a caregiver or a relative who is abusive or neglectful.
Stress plays a significant part in how a family functions. Parenting stress is often linked to higher risk of child maltreatment through physical abuse. Parents who failed to deal with stressful life events and manage their emotional distress are likely to be negectful of thei children. Stressful events such as losing one’s job, health condition, divorce or death of a spouse can aggravate hostility or depression that may lead to neglect, physical and emotional abuse.
Domestic violence goes hand in hand with child abuse. Children in violent environments who sees parental violence can also be victims of child abuse and neglected by their parents who are more focused on their marital issues. Witnessing a violent confrontation between his parents is also an instance of emotional abuse that may result to trauma or fear.
Usually, parents failed to recognize the boundary that separate discipline from abuse that they impose inappropriate punishments once their child have displayed an unpleasant behavior.
Verbal punishment involves threatening, ridiculing, shaming belittling and yelling at children. Verbal assault is a form of emotional abuse that can result to adverse behavioral consequences. Children who suffer from verbal punishment can experience low self-esteem and insecurity and some may resort to substance or alcohol dependence.
Physical or corporal punishment includes several practices that cause physical pain among children. These practices involve pinching, kicking, punching, slapping, shaking, spanking, beating and hitting the children with belts and other objects. “In a Harris Interactive poll from September 2013, 81 percent of Americans said spanking is sometimes appropriate.” (Yorio 2014) However, doctors say that spanking is a dangerous and ineffective method of correcting a child’s misbehavior.
Racism, ethnicity and culture
Race, ethnicity and culture also play a role in the increase of child abuse cases. The national data shows that children with color have a greater risk of being abused or neglected. “Assembled by the African Child Policy Forum, the authors conclude that "despite significant legal and policy measures undertaken in the region to protect children, African girls and boys are subjected to high levels of physical, sexual and emotional abuse across all levels of society.” (Vives 2015)
Parents’ behavior conflict with law
“Laws often define child abuse as "the infliction of excessive corporal punishment" (Yorio 2014) However, some parents view spanking as a measure of discipline and a way of showing their love to their children. But parent’s who impose corporal punishment has the risk to go out of control and inflict severe bruises on their child that may lead to damaging emotional and physical consequences.
Discrimination between minority and majority of race
Racism plays a major role in the increase of child abuse rate in the United States. The recent statistics show that African American and Native American children populates America’s foster care homes. The report from the School of Social work of the Portland State University reveals that racism fuels child abuse. According to the report, “African American and Native American children stayed in foster care for years, while nearly 60 percent of Hispanic children taken into state foster care went home to their parents within 12 months.” (Cole 2009)
Ways to reduce child abuse
Better support for social welfare organization
Child abuse calls for an immediate solution that would change parents’ behavior, strengthen the relationships of families, encourage community involvement and foster a child-friendly culture in the society. Social welfare organizations play a vital role in protecting children and reducing cases of child abuse. By providing better support to these organizations, the state can achieve its goal of creating positive social change.
Increasing salary for social workers
Additional compensation for social workers would encourage more committment in their jobs. By increasing their salary, they will be more motivated to work and be dedicated to child care. The government must urge the social workers to love their jobs since their work of nurturing and caring for children who had suffered from violent experiences requires genuine and consistent passion.
Training for social workers
Social work involves a multi-faceted engagement and social workers do not only deal with abused children, but they must also work with families, and other organisations such as local authority departments, police and schools. Social workers need to posess a number of skills since they would assume different roles like being an adviser, listener, and advocate. Extensive training would hone these skills and mold them into an efficient worker and advocate of social change.
Teen parenting classes
Current researches that study physical abuse show that teenage mothers are likely to exhibit higher risk of child abuse that older mothers. Young parents still lack knowledge on child development; thus, they fail to recognize the detrimental consequences of physical and verbal punishment.
Education is an effective solution to prevent young parents from abusing their children. Family services should conduct seminars and programs that would help them become successful in young parenthood. These programs must help them understand the fundamentals of child care and guide them in rearing their child while providing advices on their personal challenges. The government can also provide housing programs and financial assistance for young parents to reduce the risk of child abuse as triggered by a depressing socioeconomic status.
Young parents can be provided with a professional advisor that will closely monitor their child rearing practices. Professional advisors would not only give them practical advises on how to properly care for their child, but also provide an emotional support during challenging times.
Parents who can not control their violent practices should ask for a professional help. Psychologists can help them cope with their parenting problems through family therapy.
Pediatricians and psychologists have adept knowledge on proper child care that will induce good child development. Parents must seek the help of these health professionals in order to be able to understand the lines separating discipline and child abuse. Furthermore, doctors will advise them on the possible adverse consequences of a minor verbal or corporal punishment.
Personal adjustment is also a beneficial measure in order to appropriately rear a child. Parents must show great understanding to their children’s misbehavior and must not instantly resort to punishment.
Changes will prevent child abuse
At present evey state in America allows spanking as a form of discipline. “And in an ongoing study conducted by researchers at the University of New Hampshire, 47 percent of US university students report that their parents "hit them with a paddle, hairbrush, belt or other object at age 10.” (Hanes 2014)
Amber alert or the wireless notification system is an effective way of reducing child abuse. Parents will be discourage to maltreat their child for fear that they will be instantly reported to the authorities.
Longer sentences and serious penalties would also discourage violent behaviors of parents.
Since there are many unreported cases of child maltreatment, the state should monitor the children through examinations in order to check if they are victims of child abuse.
Regular medical examination is helpful in determining whether a child has bruises caused by pinching, beating, or spanking.
The emergence of the world wide web have brought a new delivery system of child abuse. “Everyone agrees that halting the rise of online child abuse and exploitation is an urgent priority.” (Shields 2015) The government must collaborate with website administrators in order to provide a safe digital world for the children.
Unified family court
Unified family courts are useful in protecting children and strengthening family relationships.
The intervention of unified family court would address the problem of child abuse and misbehavior and investigations would be faster.
Supply for legal system ignored
The legal system has a significant role in child protection. Prosecution of offenders would reduce child abuse rate and foster strong family relationships.
Yorio, K. (2014, Sep 21). Many parents feel spanking has its place but doctors worry. The Record.
Hanes, S. (2014, Oct 19). To spank or not to spank: Corporal punishment in the US. Christian Science Monitor
Mohr, H.,and Garance Burke. (2014, Dec 22). AP: Abused kids die as authorities fail to protect. Great Falls Tribune
Vives, L. (2015, Feb 12). Report: Weak laws leave children vulnerable to abuse worldwide. Global Information Network
Shields, J. (2014, Dec 13). How the world's brightest minds are fighting online child abuse. Daily Telegraph
Cole, M. (2009, Sep 28). Blacks, Native Americans more likely to go to foster care. Retrieved from http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2009/09/blacks_native_americans_more_l.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d) Child Maltreatment: Prevention Strategies. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childmaltreatment/prevention.html
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