Child Abuse An Analysis And Review Essay

Child Abuse: An Analysis And Review Essay, Research Paper

Child Abuse:

An Analysis and Review

Child Abuse is defined as “endangerment to a child inflicted by another person, usually the caregiver”(Leiter 1) and includes physical, sexual, emotional abuse, and neglect. Child abuse can be brought on by any one at any time. The purpose of this paper is to overview the four previously stated types of abuse, their effects on children, the legal aspects of child abuse, and dealing with abuse. Child abuse is prevalent in almost every culture across the world and has been a problem for as long as there was recorded history. “People used to abuse their children with razor straps and no one thought anything of it.”(Leiter 1) It is only recently that citizens became aware of what a problem abuse could be.

Physical Abuse:

Physical abuse can be classified as any attempt or harm to a child where the caregiver was conscience of the risk before the fact. “Physical abuse refers to non accidental injury to a child.” (2) Physical abuse is extremely dangerous to the child and can cause permanent physical and mental disabilities.

“In cases where maltreatment was substantiated? 26 percent” of victims suffered from physical abuse nation wide. (3 Mayo Clinic) In the Gallup Monthly Poll of 1000 randomly selected American parents, “Over half of the parents said they administered minor physical punishment during the past year, while 22 percent said they use severe physical punishment.”(3 Mayo Clinic) This physical punishment does not work as effectively as other types of punishment and strictly speaking is illegal. “It is much better to choose a punishment that will fit the action, for example if a child has a fight over the TV, take away TV privileges. Corporal punishment is usually administered when the parent is being brash and hasn’t had time to cool down from the child’s misbehavior.”(1 Leiter)

Sexual Abuse:

Sexual abuse “refers to any sexual behavior between a child and an adult or an older, bigger, or more powerful person, for that person’s sexual gratification.” (2) Sexual abuse while still completely horrible is often times blown completely out of scale and is “the most advertised type of abuse”(1 Leiter). “Sex abuse ranges from unwanted kisses to inappropriate touching to sexual intercourse.”(4 pg. 107) Only 14 percent of cases where maltreatment was substantiated did victims suffer from sexual abuse in the United States. (3 Mayo Clinic) Sexual abuse is often times kept hidden more than other types of abuse. Children are forced and threatened not to tell any one of the encounters because of the social humiliation of being involved in sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is the only type of abuse that occurs equally across socio-economic barriers (1 Leiter).

Emotional Abuse:

“Emotional abuse refers to a chronic attitude or behavior directed at a child, or the creation of an emotional environment, which is seriously detrimental to or impairs the child’s psychological and/or physical development.”(2) This type of abusive behavior can bring down an individual’s feeling of self worth and self-esteem. “It leaves victims feeling inadequate helpless or worthless”(4 health book) The result of emotional abuse is often that the child will either “run away or withdraw socially” (1Leiter) Emotional abuse is the least common type of abuse that was substantiated by Mayo Clinic with only 5 percent of cases of maltreatment. The Gallup Poll Monthly recorded that “Nine out of ten parents said that they shouted at their children” (3 Mayo Clinic)


Neglect is often thought of as the most dangerous type of abuse. “Neglect refers to any serious omission or commission by a person which jeopardizes or impairs the child’s psychological, intellectual, or physical development”(2) Neglect includes anything from leaving children alone for long periods of time to not giving them the correct health care to not giving the child enough to eat. Fifty-three percent of victims of maltreatment that were substantiated suffered from neglect. (3 Mayo Clinic) “Moreover neglect often requires difficult-to-accumulate evidence of a pattern of failure in care giving before being substantiated, whereas physical or sexual abuse may require only one trip to the hospital” (5 Social Work Research pg. 68) “Neglect is directly related to poverty”(1 Leiter) This is because poverty is a stressor due to the fact that those in poverty must work much harder to get basic commodities so caregivers can not always spend time with their children.

Legal Aspects of Child Abuse:

It is illegal to abuse any child physically, emotionally, sexually, or through neglect. This law was put into place to prevent people from being child abusers. It is also illegal for a person not to report if they suspect child abuse. “Any person who has cause to suspect that any juvenile is abused or neglected must report that to the Director of Social Services in the county where the child resides or is found. The report may be made orally by telephone, or in writing, and shall include the name and address of the child; the nature or extent of any injury or condition resulting from abuse or neglect; and any other relevant information.”(6 Attorney General’s webpage) reads the North Carolina Statute Section 7A-543 titled ‘DUTY TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT.’ This law overrules even physician-patient privileges.

Effect of Abuse on children:

School Outcomes:

Abusing children directly affects their performance in school. According to a study published in Social Work Research students who are abused consistently do worse on “CAT standardized tests, grade point averages, proportion who dropped out when eligible, mean annual absences, proportion of possible behavior problems and retentions, and proportion with delinquency complaints”(5 Social Work Research pg. 75)

Dealing with Abuse:

When dealing with any type of Abuse one should immediately seek help at one of the many abuse prevention centers across the nation. Daniel D. Broughton, MD, says “Intervention aims to stabilize the family and improve its functioning, to teach parenting and coping skills, to retain an intact family?with appropriate services and a good follow-up, families often improve greatly.”(3 Mayo Clinic) Child abuse is a dangerous disease that can destroy families and communities if it is not stopped.

Works Cited:

1) Leiter, Jeffery(sociology professor). Personal Interview. 17 May. 1998

2) Psychology. Abuse. May 17, 1998

3) “Child Abuse.” Mayo Clinic.

4) Pruitt, B.E. ed. Health: Skills For Wellness. Needham: 1994

5) Kirk, Stuart A. ed. Social Work Research. Vol. 18, Number 2 Washington D.C.: 1994

6) Easley. Attorney General’s web page.{2C01}&softpage=Document May 17, 1998