Child abuse is defined as physical, emotional maltreatment and the sexual abuse of a child. This abuse often occurs when a caregiver such as a parent or legal guardian in action or failing to act causes the risk or eventuality of harm, death or injury of a child. There are various forms of child maltreatment. They include sexual abuse such as rape and sodomy, physical abuse such as beatings and corporal punishment, emotional abuse such as name calling and neglect.
In America, reports on child abuse are made every ten seconds; these reports often highlight that the perpetrator of Child abuse is known to the victim, and that most victims are under the age of four years old. Child abuse occurs at every level in the society including across all socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic lines. It is also know that 14% of men in prison in America and 36% of women have experienced a form of abuse as children (Child maltreatment, 2012). This paper sees to analyze the various reasons for the commission of these crimes against children. These reasons are, caused primarily by untreated special needs kids, parent’s alcohol or drug abuse, and the parenting model presented to parents by their parent.
Untreated and special needs kids are the most vulnerable group of abuse in children. This abuse often occurs between these special needs children including the disabled and the non-disabled children. Most physicians state that this occurs because of a lack of understanding of proper societal boundaries between these special needs children and their siblings and friends. Consequences of this abuse are often damage to internal organs, fractures and changes in behavioral patterns of the children including mood swings and reclusion. Evidence in mental children being abused suggests that, “consequences reap havoc on the heart and in the mind of a child, with abuse resulting in long-term emotional trauma and behavioral problems” (Beitchman et al, 1992).This trauma often leads to these children committing the same acts done against them in other children thus continuing the chain of child abuse in the country. (Child Maltreatment, 2012)
Secondly, the biggest perpetrators of child abuse in children are parents and legal guardians. This form of abuse ranges through the whole abuse spectrum with children suffering various forms of abuse. Most cases reported in the country deal with sexual abuse from the guardians of the children. Most of this abuse occurs in the foster care system when a child is taken away from the parents who are more often drug users (Regan, 1987). These children are given to strangers who have an impersonal bond with the children and thus often take advantage of them. Sexual abuse often happens in teenagers who are still legally defined as children but have matured enough to develop the various forms of adulthood and their subsequent body parts. Neglect of the child also is defined as child abuse in the law. Failure to provide the basic human needs such as clothing, food and healthcare to the child is punishable under the law. Neglect occurs in parents who are addicted to narcotics, spending majority of their time in search of the next fix. They fail to take their parental responsibilities over their offspring often leading to malnutrition in children from lack of breastfeeding in children under 9 months and the lack of a balanced diet provision in children who have already been weaned (Sapareto & Ruggiero, 1994).
Lastly, of influence on child abuse in the country are the various forms of parental styles passed down from one generation to the next. Particularly is the authoritative form of parenting (Bousha & Twentyman, 1984). This creates a dynamic of abuse in the household. This mode of parenting employs the involvement of establishing dominance over the children in order to instill discipline. Most parents in the country today were raised under this form of parenting. This mode was introduced in the 60’s and includes various modes of punishment such as corporal punishment, name calling and clear expectations from the parent to the children. This creates animosity between the parents and the children. This model emphasizes the use of corporal punishment modes such as caning, slapping and spanking children. These children often end up with bruising and if taken too far, lead to fractures. The calling of names and insults such as ‘stupid’ and ‘retarded’ leads to emotional abuse as children start having a perception of unworthiness in themselves (Beitchman et al, 1992).
It is notable that child abuse affects the social life of individuals even at adult age. This affects the social interaction as well as the social life of individuals and therefore there is advocacy for violators to be prosecuted and strict laws put in place. Every person should enjoy their freedom and no discrimination should be put upon individuals regardless the age. The federal laws have issued report of the increased concerns of the child abuse cases and consider the accused of such laws as serious offenders. Hence this has created awareness and children have also been educated about their rights and freedom.
In conclusion, these forms often lead to the promotion of child abuse in the country as the levels continue to rise. It is in the mandate of the people as well as various unions and government commissions to create awareness on the issue. All stakeholders have a responsibility of safeguarding the freedom of children and should be in the ethics of the society to take care of the children’s welfare. As well create legislation for tougher penalties on perpetrators of these crimes to deter people from taking the rights of children to develop in a safe environment away from them.
US Department of Health and Human Services. (2013). Child maltreatment 2012.
Regan, D. O., Ehrlich, S. M., & Finnegan, L. P. (1987). Infants of drug addicts: At risk for child abuse, neglect, and placement in foster care. Neurotoxicology and teratology, 9(4), 315-319.
Beitchman, J. H., Zucker, K. J., Hood, J. E., DaCosta, G. A., Akman, D., & Cassavia, E. (1992). A review of the long-term effects of child sexual abuse. Child abuse & neglect, 16(1), 101-118.
Sapareto, E., & Ruggiero, J. (1994). Initial reliability and validity of a new retrospective measure of child abuse and neglect. Am J Psychiatry, 151(8), 11321136Bloss.
Bousha, D. M., & Twentyman, C. T. (1984). Mother–child interactional style in abuse, neglect, and control groups: Naturalistic observations in the home. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 93(1), 106.