Verbal Communication Essay, Research Paper
What is child abuse? It is the physical or emotional abuse of a child by a parent, guardian, or other person. Reports of child abuse, including sexual abuse, beating, and murder, have climbed in the United States and some authorities believe that the number of cases is largely under reported. Child neglect is sometimes included in legal definitions of child abuse to cover instances of malnutrition, desertion, and inadequate care of a child’s safety. When reported, child abuse cases are complicated by inadequate foster care services and a legal system that has trouble accommodating the suggestible nature of children, who are often developmentally unable to distinguish fact from make-believe (Hay, 1996).
Many children suffer at the hands of adults – often their own parents. They are beaten, kicked, thrown into walls, and/or burned with cigarettes. They have their heads held under the water of toilet bowls, are scalded by hot water or they are forced to stand in freezing showers until they pass out. A child could be stuffed into running washing machines or sexually molested, suffer from neglect in the forms of starvation and lack of medical attention, and still go unnoticed by outsiders. In fact, it is estimated that three children die every day in the U.S. alone from one form of child abuse or another. It is a sickening practice that has no set standard of rules to finish off the persisting problem. Different states have different methods and agencies to help prevent abuse in the home, some work quite well while others bomb – a dangerous gamble when it comes to the life or mental state of a child.
I have seen child abuse first hand and up close. I serve on the Advisory Board and Board of Directors for Lutheran Social Services, Foster Care Division of Michigan. It is appalling, immoral and heart wrenching to see how adults can treat children. The wife and myself have fostered many children. They have come out of some very dysfunctional homes. Some of the children we fostered have been sexually molested and badly abuse by their own parents. What makes it so bad is that most of the children think that this is acceptable behavior and would go back to their homes if they could. We had one little boy who would rather eat out of the garbage than sit at the table to eat. We fostered another family of two boys and two girls. Their father and uncle had sexually abused them all. These children ranged from 7 to 12 years of age. While these children were living with us, we had caught them several times perpetrating each other in a sexual manner. They thought this was normal and acceptable behavior. I also know of a lot of cases where children even die at the hands of their on parents. What has our society become? You find in a lot of case where the perpetrator has been perpetrated. Approximately 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 16. Dr. William C. Holmes of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine said that when sexually abused boys are not treated, society must later deal with the resulting problems, including crimes, suicide, drug use, and more sexual abuse . This cycle must be broken. This problem affects everyone.
Most child abuse takes place in the home and is started by persons are know to and trusted by the child. Even though it has been widely publicized, abuse in day-care and foster-care settings accounts for only a small number of confirmed cases of child abuse. In 1996, only two percent of all confirmed cases of child abuse occurred in these settings. Child abuse if fifteen times more likely to occur in families where spousal abuse occurs. Children are three times more likely to be abused by their fathers than by their mothers. No differences have been found in the incidence of child abuse in rural versus urban areas. Following are the types of abuse and the percentages of the different types.
Neglect – 54%
Physical abuse – 25%
Sexual abuse – 11%
Emotional abuse – 3%
Other – 7%
There are many parents that need help in parenting. One of the ways to help parents is to make sure their basic needs are met. Until parents’ basic needs are met, they may find it difficult to meet the needs of their children. The first thing parents need is assistance in meeting their basic requirements for food, shelter, clothing, safety and medical care, counseling and ect. Only when these needs are met can higher needs be addressed (Rushton, 1997). Another way8 to help should be to identify and treat parents who abuse alcohol or drugs, and identify and counsel parents who suffer from spousal abuse. Identifying and treating parents with psychologic problems is also important. Other issues that need attention include financial concerns, and employment and legal problems. Providing an empathetic ear and being a source of referral for help with these issues may take physicians a long way toward nurturing needy parents. The next higher level of need includes education about time management and budgeting skills, stress management, coping and parenting skills such as appropriate discipline, knowledge of child development, nutrition and feeding problems, and safety issues (Rushton, 1997).
In my conclusion, many things need to happen at international, national, state and community levels to prevent child abuse. Studies have shown that countries with the most generous social services have the lowest rate of child homicide. People should lobby for greater availability of drug and alcohol treatment programs, more shelters for the homeless, more accessible mental health care and more shelters for abused women and children. These programs and those that provide parenting skills, support groups and respite care for parents and care givers should be available in every community.
Child abuse is a complex problem with many causes, it is important that people not take a defeatist attitude toward its prevention. Despite the absence of strong evidence to guide preventive efforts, society can do things to try to prevent abuse. Showing increased concern for the parents or caregivers and increasing attempts to enhance their skills as parents or care givers may help save the most vulnerable people, our children, from the nightmare of abuse and neglect.
Hay, T. “Social Interventions to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect.” Child Welfare 5 February 1996: 379-403.
Rushton, Frank. “The Role of Health Care in Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention.” Pediatrics March 1997: 133-136.
Davis, Laura. Stop Domestic Violence. New York: Macmillan, 1998.