Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Children, Violence, Bullying, Abuse, Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Criminal Justice, Family

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/12/03

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Introduction
One of the worst and the most inhuman crimes discussed by the civic societies is child abuse because of the serious impacts of this evil on the victim as well as the society as a whole. Children are vulnerable to abuses of various kinds and magnitudes as their exposure to unsafe conditions at households, schools or other organized groups are generally free from the social surveillance and the perceived moral justice norms. Although the number and frequency may vary with the differences in legislature and cultural standards among the societies, each case of child abuse is a direct hit on the face of the constitutional prestige of every country. The social horror of child abuse should be prevented by the strict enforcement of laws by the concerned authorities with the association of the conscious public to protect the innocence of children.

Law for Child and Child Abuse

Child abuse is a multi-dimensional issue which requires the greatest amount of attention by the law of the land. The very fact that every child is the promise of today for the development of a country emphasizes the need for framing and implementing strict laws to protect the life and dignity of every child. In order to understand the legal prospects of child abuse, there must be clear definitions to the status of an individual as a child. This concept is instrumental in guaranteeing the constitutional rights and responsibilities of the children with regards to the provisions of the law.
The statutory definition of the term ‘child’ is variously given by different countries according to their laws. In most countries across the world, any person under the age of eighteen is treated as child. In the United Kingdom, the legal definition of child varies with changing circumstances and requirements, such as protection, consent and criminal responsibility with each of them stipulated at eighteen, sixteen and ten years of age respectively. In India, the age is limited to fourteen in general cases and for consent it is sixteen, but separate provisions are made for changing cases and circumstances. The legal status of children is more or less similar in the United States and Canada. Thus in a generalized sense, any person under the age of eighteen years falls under the category of children and is entitled to enjoy the provisions of laws for protection, rights and freedom with responsibility to the legal systems pertaining to their social behavior monitoring.
According to the US Federal legislation for child abuse and neglect prevention (CAPTA), any person falling under the age of 18 years is treated as a child. The law defines child abuse as, “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; or an act or failure to act which presents and imminent risk of serious harm” (as qtd by Child Welfare Information Gateway Children’s Bureau). The law further recommends for the monitoring of the domestic and social exposure of the children observed as victims for better defining the conditions before any action can be directed by its provisions. The overview of CAPTA spreads over acquaintances, neighbors, teachers, friends and social organizations and religious centers etc as possible contributors of child abuse. Following the guidelines of the Federal laws under CAPTA, each state has designed their own mechanism to recognize the signs of child abuse by categorizing them into different kinds such as physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. This classification is important for tracking down the cases of maltreatment easily (Child Welfare Information Gateway Children’s Bureau).
Physical abuse may result from all forms of bruises, injuries or fractures caused by the voluntary attempt of the parent, caregiver or any other person or groups of individuals. This may occur as a result of beating, kicking, biting, pinching, burning etc during the adults’ attempts to discipline the children against their misconduct. Sexual abuse has got a wider definition as it has a multi-dimensional impact on both the victims and the society in general. According to the definition of CAPTA, sexual abuse occurs due to the unnatural and undignified acts of the parents or the caregiver with intent to obtaining sexual advantages in various ways. It includes genital fondling, incest, rape, sodomy etc. Incidents of indecent exposure of the child, forcing for prostitution or production of pornographic materials etc also fall in this category of abuse.
Emotional or psychological abuse of children occurs when their emotional development is hampered due to the pattern of behavior exposed by their parents or caretakers. The continuous exposure to criticism, rejection or threats and other aspects like denial of love and support puts them in pressure which gradually develops the signs of emotional abuse. According to Lemonocelli, the prolonged stress inflicted by emotional abuse can disrupt the victim’s adaptive mechanism, which can cause serious illness (5). Another form abuse results from neglect which is caused by the failure of the parent or caregiver to give the basic needs to the children. The negligence may happen by causing or refusing to overcome shortage of food, shelter, clothes and money and facilities for giving medical treatment, basic education etc. Besides this, the incidents of alcohol consumption and usage of drugs by children will be treated as parental neglect if these issues are not properly addressed by them.
Beyond the listed abuses, another potential harm to the children is caused by abandonment. Abandonment happens as a result of incidents like identity of the parents going unknown and lacking child-parent contact for longer periods. In order to ensure the safety of such children, the Federal law has provided for the institution of the Child Welfare Information Gate way which operates Infant Safe Havens which works under the laws for Family Reunification, Acts of Omission for Child Neglect and laws to protect the prenatal rights of children in the United States. According to the Safe Haven laws, it is necessary for the safe haven provider to accept the emergency protective custody of the relinquished child, provide it essential treatment and then inform the local welfare authorities about the procedures followed by them with regards to the child.

Cases and Social Concerns

Despite the statistical indicators showing a decline of the average cases, child abuse continues to cause great concern for the governments of the countries across the world with the considerations for the realities hiding behind any hopeful data to show the decline of the number of incidents every year. The more alarming message of this issue is that if the numbers are to increase, they are sure to result in a poor quality young generation in any country. Hence the social importance of addressing this problem is pivotal for the governments. According to an opinion, “child abuse and its ramifications are a severe and continuing blight on our communities and a matter of ongoing concern” (Gordon, para 3). This argument is supported by the fact that child abuse leaves deep bruises in the personalities of the victims whose performance can reflect the darkness they perceive from their experiences. However, the cultural and socio-economic reasons contribute a considerable number of child abuse cases across the globe. Even though the cases of child abuse are potential challenge to the esteem of every country, the need for understanding its causes is essential before arriving at any argument or suggestion.
A generalized social perspective about child abuse is that it is just sexual and physical in nature. However, the expanse of child abuse is much more than just physical as it can result from conditions like negligence, discrimination, forced labor, harassment, threatening or denial of promises and many more. Any condition that demands a child to undergo emotional or physical stress accounts for child abuse. Among all the forms of abuses, sexual abuse gets the quick notice of the public because of the unexpected and the shameful source from it occurs. The menace of child abuse is not very easy to prevent as the danger often stays with the victim. In most cases of child abuse, the predator is found among the protectors for the victim. This particular condition makes it easy to judge that sexual abuse of a child can also occur as result of premeditated attempts unlike the physical abuse cases which mostly occur due to sudden responses to the provocations.

Impacts, Treatment and Aversion

Child abuse needs to be addressed from the victim’s perspective for a better understanding of the actual magnitude of this problem in the society and in their personal life. The basic problem is that child abuse has a critical long term impact on the victims as it is a fundamental violence against their trust and self respect at first hand. The child learns to develop its social behavior on the basis of this trust which makes them build interpersonal relationships and set goals for their growth. As such, the negative experiences related to child abuse hamper the victims’ life and as a long term impact, they face multiple behavioral issues that fail their social as well as personal life to a great extent. The memories of the horror of abuse can haunt the victims’ minds for many years after their experience, which can eventually damage their personality and affect the quality of their productive enterprises.
Treating the child abuse victims has two dimensional effects; one is for the immediate revival and the other is for granting continuous care for them to come out of trauma and psychological issues in the later stage of life. Expert hands need to work behind the scientific identification of child abuse cases because of their sensitivity. The registration and proceedings of a case of child abuse requires the medical report to be perfect and professionally structured. Hence, the physicians handling the cases of child abuse victims must be ethical and strong enough to conduct a true and thorough investigation of the physical and psychological condition of the victim before making the report. For treating the issues like prolonged trauma and psychological problems with adult survivors of child abuse, they can approach consultants of their choice. However, a study McQueen suggests that psychoanalytic psychotherapy is one of many possible treatments proven to be helpful to people who have sexual and physical abuse and negligence in their child hood (1).
The need for emphasizing the argument that child abuse should be averted under any circumstance is of prime importance. Considering the reality that today’s children is the promise for a prosperous tomorrow, responsible societies cannot have a passive approach to address the issue of child abuse. A number of organizations and government agencies are formed and directed towards securing the objective of protecting child against abuses. Since the issue is a global concern, the intervention of international cooperation in creating awareness among the populations across the world is highly recommendable for its successful aversion.

Conclusion

Child abuse is one of the worst cases of great concern for the public as well as the authorities. Different countries have varying legal definitions for the status of a child and separate provision to prevent child abuse in various forms. The causes of child abuse have multiple sources associated with the childhood of the victims. The most sensible fact behind the abuse is that it destroys the relationship of the victim with the society. The impacts of this misfortune have a long term effect in the victims which can affect their personal and social life in the future. There is hopeful news that the number of cases are on the decline over the past few years as there are agencies and organizations to work for preventing this issue by creating awareness among the people. Hence it can be concluded that this evil should be detected and prevented at any cost for ensuring the dignity, pride and trust among the young minds across the world.

Works Cited

Child Welfare Information Gateway Children’s Bureau/ACYF/ACF/HHS. “Infant Safe Haven Laws”. (2013). Web Feb 28, 2015. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/safehaven.pdf#page=2&view=Who May Leave a Baby at Safe Haven
Gordon, Sue. Cultural Conceptualisation of Child Abuse and Responses to it: An Aboriginal Perspective. Ministry of Social Development. https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/journals-and-magazines/social-policy-journal/spj28/28-cultural-conceptualisation-of-child-abuse-and-responses-to-it-an-aboriginal-perspective-p18-35.html
Lemonocelli, John J. Healing from Childhood Abuse: Understanding the Effects, Taking Control to Recover. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Print.
McQueen, Daniel. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy After Child Abuse: Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Adults and Children who Have Experienced Sexual Abuse, Violence, and Neglect in Childhood. Karnac Books, 2008. Print.

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