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Child Abuse Essay Research Paper Historically society

Child Abuse Essay, Research Paper Historically society has not been troubled by the maltreatment of children. Where children were not wanted, mortality ran high. In nineteenth-century England, for example,

Child Abuse Essay, Research Paper

Historically society has not been troubled by the maltreatment of children. Where

children were not wanted, mortality ran high. In nineteenth-century England, for example,

80% of the illegitimate children who were put out to nurse died; nurses collected their fees

and then promptly did away with the babies. When a profit could be made, adults

sometimes sold children into slavery or used them as a source of cheap labor. This is not

to say that individual parents did not care about their children; but persuasive values

sanctioned many practices that we now call abusive, and even caring parents were under

their influence. Infanticide was not only a threat to the infants of royal families; in some

cultures it had wide acceptance as a means of controlling population size and eliminating

children with birth defects. Mutilation of children is usually presumed to be a remote

custom. Examples such as the foot binding of Chinese daughters and the cranial

deformations of certain Indians groups come readily to mind. Yet mutilation of sexual

organs has been seen as a religious rite since the Stone Age, and in spite of its

questionable value, circumcision is still the most common operation performed in Western

medicine today. (Kempe 3-4)

The ?battered-child syndrome? was first described in 1860 by Ambroise Tardieu, a

professor of legal medicine in Paris. He had of necessity, to rely on autopsy findings. He

described 32 children battered to death by whipping and burning. The same year, Athol

Johnson at the Hospital for Sick Children of London called attention to the frequency of

repeated fractures in children. He attributed these to the condition of the bones, since

rickets at that time was almost universal among London children. We now know that

almost every case he described was, in fact, an abused child. Official London records

reveal that among 3926 children under five years of age who died by accident or violence

in 1870, 202 were listed as manslaughter; 95, neglect; 18, exposure to cold-all obviously

dead of child abuse. However, the rickets theory persisted well into the twentieth century.

(Kempe 5)

Child abuse today is recognized by the general public as a major problem in the

United States. Social service workers and other child care experts investigating such cases

report an alarming increase in incidents involving young children and adolescents who

have been beaten, burned, tied up, starved, sexually assaulted, and in some cases, killed by

other adults. (Ito 11)

The term ?child abuse? can be defined as any behavior directed toward a child by a

parent, guardian, care giver, other family member, or other adult, that endangers or

impairs a child?s physical or emotional health and development. (www.nccafv.com)

Reports by caseworkers investigating suspected incidents of child abuse reveal that

such mistreatment occurs in many ways: a teenage mother unable to cope with the stress

of being a parent becomes enraged and slaps her baby whenever the child begins to cry. A

father repeatedly forces his adolescent daughter to engage in sexual acts with him and

threatens to kill her unless she remains silent about the abuse. Two children are found tied

and gagged in a closet where their parents left them as a punishment for disturbing their

sleep. A boy is repeatedly burned by a hot iron by parents who are under the influence of

alcohol and cocaine. (Ito 11-12)

There are four different categories of child abuse: Physical abuse, Emotional

abuse, Neglect, and Sexual abuse. (www.nccafv.com)

Physical abuse involves children being beaten, burned, poisoned, and many other

methods of inflicting physical pain. (Kempe 6)

Emotional abuse is defined as verbal assaults and the withholding of positive

emotional support. Everyday, children as ?hit? with words which are demeaning, shaming,

threatening, blaming, intimidating, unfairly critical or in sarcastic nature, and damaging to

self-confidence and self-esteem. (www.nccafv.com)

Child neglect is continued failure to provide a child with necessary care and

protection including adequate shelter, food, clothing, medical care, etc. or lack of

appropriate supervision for extended periods of time, especially with younger children.

(www.nccafv.com)

There are three types of sexual abuse: Pedophilia; Violent molestation and rape;

and Incest. Pedophilia is nonviolent sexual contact such as genital fondling or genital

contact, or genital viewing). Violent molestation and rape can be defined as forced sexual

exploitation. Incest is forced sexual relations within the immediate family.(Kempe 45-47)

There are many causes of abuse. Some parents may lack information about normal

child behavior, especially teenage parents. They may punish and abuse a baby for crying,

although crying is natural behavior for a baby. (Ito 28)

Research has shown that many adults who physically, emotionally, or sexually

abuse children were themselves abused as children. The trauma of this mistreatment often

results in severe emotional or psychological problems in adulthood. Adults who were

victims of child abuse may carry intense feelings of repressed anger toward their abusers

which they vent on their own children through cruel or violent behavior. (Ito 29)

Such negative emotions can often lead to problems for victims when they become

adults. According to the November 2, 1992, issue of Children Today, the trauma of child

abuse can often have long-term effects:

The effects of child abuse are sometimes obvious even decades later. The

effects are often persuasive: mental, physical, and social in nature.

Suicide, violence, delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse, and other forms

of criminality are frequently child abuse related. (Ito 13)

Alcohol and drug abuse often lead to depression, fits of violent rage, and impaired

judgment, all which can increase the risk of child abuse. (Ito 24)

In their efforts to understand the causes of child abuse, researches have also

explored the relationship between poverty and abuse. Studies have shown a high incidence

of child abuse in poor families. In 1985, 48.3 percent of abused children lived in families

receiving welfare assistance in the program know as Aid to Families with Dependent

Children (AFDC). (Ito 25-26)

Such findings do not mean that abusive behavior occurs in all poor families or only

in poor families. Studies clearly show that child abuse occurs in families from all economic

levels and from every variety of racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, Some researchers

believe, however, that the extreme stresses resulting from a parent?s inability to provide

for his or her family may lead to child abuse. Parents who are unemployed and unable to

find work may become depressed and angry. Their anxiety and frustration over being

unable to earn a living and support their families can lead to outbursts of temper and even

physical violence. (Ito 26-27)

In 1999, there were an estimated 826,000 victims of maltreatment nationwide. 1,100 children died as a result of abuse in 1999. (www.nccanch.com)

Nationally, an estimated 171,000 victims of child abuse and neglect were placed in

foster care to protect them from further maltreatment. This figure is likely underestimated

because of the complexities of recording service provision data. Based on data from 21

reporting States, 5.1 percent of child victims had been reunited with their families after a

stay in foster care within the previous 5 years. (www.nccanch.com)

Victims were from all age groups, but 3/5 (58.4%) that suffered were 0-3 years

old. Female victims slightly outnumbered male victims (especially in sexual abuse).

African-Americans had the highest maltreatment rates, followed by Native

Americans/Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Whites, and Asian/Pacific Islanders.

(www.nccanch.com)

Most abused children never come to the attention of government authorities. This

is especially true for neglected and sexually abused children, who may have no physical

signs of harm. In the case of sexual abuse, secrecy and intense feelings of shame may

prevent children, and adults aware of the abuse, from seeking help. (www.jimhopper.com)

A Sample of 595 men were administered self-report assessments of childhood

sexual and physical abuse, perpetration history, gender rigidity, and emotional

construction. Including non-contact forms of sexual abuse, 11% of the men reported

sexual abuse alone, 17% reported physical abuse alone, and 17% report sexual and

physical abuse. (www.jimhopper.com)

Child abuse and neglect is a national problem which has increased to epidemic

proportions in the United States. More than 2.5 million reports of child abuse are made in

the United States annually with hundreds of deaths related to child abuse reported each year. Most runaways, adolescent prostitutes and teenage delinquent?s report having been

victims of some form of child abuse, and it is reported that a majority of violent criminals

suffered abuse, either physical and/or sexual as children. Abuse robs children of the

opportunity to develop healthy, trusting relationships with adults, contributes to low self-

esteem, and impairs healthy psycho-social development. Indeed, the effects of childhood

abuse often last a lifetime. (www.nccafv.com)

Abused children have great difficulty in recognizing and verbalizing their own

feelings-especially liking, loneliness, anxiety, and pleasure. Few can allow themselves

pleasure and joy, and simple fun and laughing are rare at first. They take little pleasure in

themselves either; usually they think of themselves as bad, unlovable, and stupid. They

expect much of themselves in one way-in the matter of doing the right thing-but very little

when it comes to pleasing and arousing real interest. (Kempe 36)

The trauma of being physically or sexually abused as a child can affect an

individual for the rest of his or her life. Such abuse can severely damage a victim?s self-

esteem. Because many children are taught at an early age that parents and other grown-

ups know what is best for them, abused young people may come to feel that they deserved

whatever mistreatment they received. In addition, victims often experience feelings of

guilt, repressed anger, fear, and depression as a result of their abuse. (Ito 13)

Child abuse hurts. The aftereffects, which are well documented, are devastating.

Abused children suffer a wide range of emotional, developmental, and physical problems,

both acute and chronic. Some children die. These problems often precipitate such social

ills as teenage runaways, adolescent prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse, academic failure

and school truancy, and juvenile delinquency. (Ito 69-70)

Aggressive sexual abuse often results in fear states and night terrors, clinging

behavior, and some form of development regression. Here the physician?s role is to

provide reassurance. In a stable family setting, it is the parents rather than the child who

may need continued support, particularly if they do not understand the child?s resilience. It

may be, of course, that the event will have to be worked through with the child again from

time to time, but this can often be done in a nursery-school setting with active support

from loving teachers and parents. The child may need further help in adolescence.

(Kempe 51-52)

In school-age children, subtle clinical manifestations may include sudden onset of

anxiety, fear, depression, insomnia, hysteria, sudden massive weight loss or weight gain,

sudden school failure, truancy, or running away. (Kempe 52)

In adolescents serious rebellion, particularly against the mother, is often the major

symptom. The physician, who is aware of a specific estrangement between a mother and a

daughter should consider this diagnosis: girls involved in incest often will forgive their

fathers, but rarely will they forgive the mothers who failed to protect them. Or if the

physician, teacher, or nurse notices that the daughter has suddenly been assigned virtually

all the functions ordinarily performed by a mother, such as looking after the house and

siblings, he should suspect this diagnosis: parents have reassigned the mother?s function to

the daughter, in both kitchen and bed. These youngsters must be given an opportunity to

share their secret with a sympathetic person. (Kempe 52)

In pedophilia the child tends to be between age two and early adolescence,

whereas incestuous relationships may begin at the toddler age and continue into adult life.

The median age for incestuous behavior in recent years has been between nine and ten

years of age, well within the age group routinely seen by pediatricians, including those

pediatricians who do not attend adolescent patients. (Kempe 51)

Violent acts of sexual exploitation or rape are usually perpetrated by males under

the age of thirty, while father-daughter incest tends to involve middle aged men between

thirty and fifty. Other incestuous relationships, as between siblings, can vary from mutual

genital play in early childhood and school aged children to attempted, sometimes

successful, intercourse in adolescence. (Kempe 51)

Pedophilia may never be cured, but it is often possible to bring all illegal acts under

control. There is no certain cure for the aggressive sociopath who engages in violent

molestation and rape. Until we know how to treat such people, we must be certain that

they cannot menace a defenseless child. In many cases, imprisonment is the only

alternative after conviction, or psychiatric commitment if the molester is judged legally

insane and unable to stand trial. (Kempe 53)

The treatment of incest, on the other hand, is more likely to be successful and to

result in the three desired goals: stopping the practice; providing individual and, later,

group treatment for the victim and parents; and helping to heal the victim?s wounds,

permitting growth as a whole person, including the ability to enjoy normal sexuality. In

our experience, it has not been possible to reunite families after incest has been stopped,

either through placing the child or removing the offender, unless two conditions have been

met: the mother must show that she is willing and able to protect her children; and both

parents must admit the problem, share a desire to remedy it, and at the same time improve

their marriage or seek a divorce. Ultimately, treatment can be judged successful only many years later when the child is grown up and is not emotionally impaired. (Kempe 53-54)

These are methods of treatment for the abused child: Crisis treatment; Individual

play therapy; Therapeutic play school; Foster care; Hospitalization and institutional care;

and group treatment. (Kempe 86-102)

Halting abuse is an ultimate goal of society, and prevention and intervention

programs have made significant progress in achieving that goal. Despite such efforts,

however, child abuse still occurs. Abuse victims have special needs that require special

attention and care. Free Arts for Abused Children in Los Angeles is one such program.

FAAC introduces creative arts activities to victims of child abuse as outlets through which

they can increase their self-esteem, express their emotions, and gain self-confidence.

(Ito 76)

Behavior of the adult-angry, indifferent, seductive-can vary tremendously.

Attaching blame to these parents may be difficult to resist. But it is more useful to view

the behavior as an extreme response to stress, and often these parents themselves are

suffering individuals who endured abused childhoods. One of the major misconceptions

about abusive parents is that they are invariably disadvantaged. Poor parents may well be

under more external stress from worries about homelessness, overcrowding, or debt than

those who are better off, but the crucial internal stresses are remarkably similar for rich

and poor parents alike. Another misconception is that abusive parents and fundamentally

and incurably abnormal, psychotic, criminal, or retarded. Like the first, this misconception

is probably popular because it tends to put a distance between us and them. (Kempe 7)

Slightly more than 60 percent of perpetrators were female and they were typically

younger than male perpetrators. Neglect and medical neglect were most often attributed to female perpetrators, while male perpetrators were more likely to be physically and sexually

abusive. (www.nccanch.com)

Treatments for the abusive parent include crisis treatment, casework by social

workers, social service homemakers, lay therapist (parent aid), psychotherapy, parent-

child therapy, group therapy, and residential therapy. (Kempe 68-85)

Signs of Physical Abuse

?Unexplained injuries, especially those located on parts of the body not usually aaffected by normal childhood activities, (e.g., eyes, mouth, back, thighs, buttocks, genital areas, etc.).

?Repeated injuries such as bruises, welts or burns, especially those where the shape of an object is visible, (e.g., an electric cord, hair brush, belt, buckle, board, ccigarette, etc.).

?Abrasions or lacerations appearing on the body for no apparent reason. Injuries in various stages of healing which appear in a regular pattern or are grouped together.

?Small circular burns which may have been inflicted by a cigarette or cigar, often found on forearms, hands, buttocks, or soles of the feet.

?Burns with a “doughnut” shape on the buttocks which may indicate a child was dipped or forced to sit in scalding liquid. Any burn which shows the pattern of the object used to inflict the injury (e.g., an iron, fireplace tool, heaters, etc.).

?Burns caused by friction, usually found on arms, neck, legs, or torso indicating a rope or cord may have been used to tie up the victim.

?Unexplained fractures, (e.g., nose, face, ribs, legs, arms, etc.).

?Behavior by the child which may be hyperactive, disruptive, and aggressive, or

complacent, compliant, shy, withdrawn or uncommunicative.

?Denial by parents that anything is wrong, unlikely explanation for the child?s injuries, delays in obtaining medical care, or inadequate care given and injuries which occur with increasing frequency or severity. (www.nccafv.com)

Signs of Neglect:

?Appears poorly nourished or inadequately clothed;

?Appears consistently tired or listless;

?Inconsistent attendance at school;

?Lack of good hygiene, or an obsession with cleanliness;

?Is regularly left alone in dangerous situations, or over long periods of time;

?Exhibits evidence that medical needs are not being met;

?Unable to relate well to adults or has trouble forming close friendships. (www.nccafv.com)

Signs of Emotional Abuse

?Patterned behavior that is extreme (e.g., lying, stealing, fighting) or is overly aggressive and acts out inappropriately;

?Appears defensive, shy or overly dependent;

?Is verbally abusive to others, using the same language and demeaning terms she/he has experienced. (www.nccafv.com)

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