Child abuse refers to emotional, bodily, mental, or sexual harassment of a child. Child abuse can be committed through oversight or commission by the child’s parents, caregivers, or guardians.
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A research by Jaffee and Maikovich-Fong (2011) shows that child abuse can occur in different places, for example at home, school, organizations, or in communities where children live or visit.
Over the years, the four types of child abuse, namely bodily, emotional, sexual, and abandonment have occurred in varying rates in different parts of the world. The Child abuse maltreatment Report of 2010 as presented by Malcolm (2012) declares negligence the most prevalent form of child abuse across the world.
For instance, the rate of child negligence in 2010 in the United States (U.S) was 78.3% (Malcolm, 2012). Physical abuse followed at 17.6% in the same year.
The third type of abuse by prevalence was sexual abuse at 9.2% while the last form of child mistreatment by prevalence was emotional/psychological ill-treatment that stood at 8.1% (Malcolm, 2012).
In fact, statistical findings indicate that most of the people think of negligence whenever they hear of child abuse (Girgira, Tilahun & Bacha, 2014). Although various reasons have been established for the high rate of negligence as a form of child abuse, the leading cause of negligence is poverty (Girgira et al., 2014).
Different types of child abuse are inflicted on children via various ways. For example, bodily abuse takes the form of physical aggression. This aggression may be inflicted by parents, relatives, neighbors, or any other older person. In most cases, bodily abuse happens when the intention of the older person is to harm or inflict pain on a kid.
In some instances, child abuse may result in the death of the victim. However, in defense of physical child abuse, most of the aggressors hide under the guise of disciplining children. The prevalence of the physical form of child abuse has spurred a quick move in enacting laws against child abuse in most countries.
For example, by 2013, over 34 countries of the world had enacted laws against any form of corporal punishment of children (Girgira et al., 2014). Sexual abuse involves an adult or any other older person abusing a child for sexual satisfaction or stimulation.
In this case, children are involved in gratifying sexual desires of the aggressor or providing financial profits to the aggressor. Children are also forced to expose genitals. They are exposed to pornography and sexual intercourse with older persons. When adults sell children sexual services, they commit child abuse.
Today, 15-26% of mature men in the US confess to have been abused during their babyhood (Malcolm, 2012). The leading aggressors in sexual child abuse are friends at 60% followed by relatives at 10%, and strangers at 10% (Girgira et al., 2014; Blair, McFarlane, Nava, Gilroy & Maddoux, 2015).
Although emotional abuse is not as prevalent as other forms, it affects a considerable number of children. Emotional child abuse involves inflicting social and/or psychological defects on a child by being rude, arrogant, harsh, or yelling at a child. As a result, children may run away from home, abuse back, or isolate themselves.
Child abuse is associated with various negative implications. These effects may be objective, physiological, or psychosomatic. For instance, physical effects may manifest in the form of contusion or injuries, wrecked bones, soft tissue harm, or even death.
In adverse effects, physical child abuse can result in shaken baby disorder, messed up development of a kid’s brain, awful physical fitness, low telomerase, and illegal activities (Girgira et al., 2014). The negative effects of psychological child abuse result in psychiatric problems as a child matures.
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In addition, emotional abuse may result in disorganized attachment style disorder, which is manifested through uncontrolled anxiety or depression. These expositions demonstrate the increased prevalence of child abuse across the world.
Hence, this study uses this basis to examine the effects of child abuse before presenting a reflection on the issue.
Currently, four major forms of child abuse are prevalent in the world. These include child abandonment, physical exploitation, sexual violence, and psychological or emotional abuse. The most common form of child abuse in America and in most parts of the world is child abuse (Blair et al., 2015).
Child abandonment is also the most familiar form of child abuse in most parts of the world (Blair et al., 2015). Various factors such as poverty, mothers’ education, culture, and peer pressure have promoted abandonment as the major form of child abuse. The former is the most common cause of neglect.
Parents neglect children by failing to provide financial, emotional, and physical support (Jaffee & Maikovich-Fong, 2011). Parents, guardians, and caregivers also neglect children by running away from them. Physical absence of parents or caregivers is also considered negligence.
The second most prevalent form of child abuse today is physical abuse. Parents, protectors, or older people inflict physical pain on children. In most cases, physical child abuse happens in the name of instilling discipline in children.
Any excessive physical infliction of pain on the body of a child intentionally is considered child abuse (McCullough & Shaffer, 2014). In this form of child abuse, parents or child keepers may physically beat the child using a tool or bare hands, kicks, brows, knocks, slaps, or pinches.
As a result, children may suffer bruises, burns, swellings, cuts, or even death. Cases of children dying because of physical abuse have been reported in the modern world. In fact, a considerable number of teachers have killed children through physical abuse in the name of instilling order.
Brows of death have also been reported where parents kill their children in the process of punishing them (Parton, 2013). Because of the wide prevalence of child abuse, various states in the US and across the world have enacted laws against corporal punishment of children.
Sexual violence is another prevalent form of child mistreatment.
Sexual child exploitation involves the deliberate involvement of children in sexual activities by older persons, including involving them in sexual intercourse, touching their sexual organs, and exposing them to pornographic contents at the gratification of the aggressors via some financial milestones.
In most cases, the aggressors of children sexual abuse are acquaintances, including family friends and people who become friends to the children through their peers, parents, or relatives (Sansen, Iffland & Neuner, 2014). The second most prevalent aggressors in cases of child sexual abuse today are strangers and relatives.
Emotional abuse is also prevalent where parents inflict emotional defects on children. Emotional exploitation is inflicted through criticism and mockery. Excessive emotional child abuse may result in depression, withdrawals, and criminal behavior in the future of the children.
The cost of child abuse is dire to both the children, healthcare organizations, parents, and the government. The impacts of child abuse vary based on the type of child abuse. Children bear the highest percentage of the cost of child abuse. As the victims of various forms of abuse, children experience the effects at first hand.
For example, neglected children may lack basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and education. In addition, they may lack parental warmth and guidance in their lives. In the same way, children who are physically abused suffer bodily pain and harm (Sansen et al., 2014).
For example, they may suffer cuts, wounds, bleeding, wrecked body bones, destroyed body organs, or even death. Such sufferings may take a short duration or may be lifetime. Children who fall victims of sexual abuse also suffer most.
Sexually abused children suffer from distress, sexually transmitted ailments, untimely pregnancies, scorn by peers, and timidity (McCullough & Shaffer, 2014). Cases of destroyed sex organs have been reported because of child sexual abuse.
For example, a child’s genitals may be physically injured, their uteruses may be destroyed, and their genitalia may be destroyed in the process of sexual exploitation. Through emotional abuse, children end up suffering the emotional consequence of the abuse.
In the end, psychologically abused children end up suffering from depression or becoming criminals in the future.
Institutions such as schools, churches, and hospitals also bear the cost of child abuse (Jaffee & Maikovich-Fong, 2011). Schools suffer when children are abused physically, emotionally, or sexually, since their (children) academic performance is highly affected by child abuse.
As a result, children cannot concentrate in class or socialize with others. In some instances, when the aggressor is a teacher, parents may sue the school or soil its name. Other institutions such as churches also suffer the cost of child abuse. For example, the church is entrenched the role of ensuring strong values in families.
Therefore, it is expected to reconcile the children with their parents or guardians. Hospitals also bear the cost of child abuse. For instance, physically, sexually, or emotionally abused children end up in hospitals (Jaffee & Maikovich-Fong, 2011).
As a result, doctors, psychiatrists, and hospital administrations are tasked with the role of ensuring that the health of the child is well (Widom, Czaja, Bentley, & Johnson, 2012). The government also bears the cost of child abuse. For instance, governments are expected to enact laws on child abuse in any form.
For example, laws on defilement have been enacted in countries such as the US to help in addressing the issue. Every government has a role of protecting its children from any form of abuse. The government also has the role of arresting the aggressors and prosecuting them for any form of child abuse.
Child abuse can be separated into three distinct types, namely physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Physical abuse is any type of physically harmful action an adult parent or guardian commits against a minor child.
This form may include punching, hitting, slapping, kicking, beating, burning, shaking, or deliberately making a child physically ill (Berk, 2010). Sexual abuse involves any sexual contact between an adult, regardless of guardianship status, and a minor child.
This abuse ranges from sexual touching and exposing their bodies in public to sexual intercourse and commercial exploitation through prostitution or pornography (Berk, 2010). Emotional abuse typically involves an adult ignoring a child’s emotional and psychological needs (Herrenkohl, Hong, Klika, Herrenkohl, & Russo, 2013).
Abandonment can have consequences that are similar to abuse for child development. It is commonly divided into two types. Physical neglect is an adult parent or guardian neglecting a child’s physical needs for food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and cleanliness (Blair et al., 2015).
Other forms of abandonment include emotional rejection where a parent, guardian, or caregiver partially or completely detaches himself or herself from the emotional needs of a child. Social neglect occurs when parents or caregivers detach themselves from the social needs of the child.
Child abuse is considered a serious issue because it has long-term consequences for a child’s physical, mental, social, and cognitive wellbeing. These child exploitation issues form the foundation for this study that seeks to explore the effects of child abuse on the children, organizations, and the government.
Children are a responsibility of themselves, their parents, social and academic institutions, and the government. Parents and other caregivers take responsibility of caring for their children and explaining the most important living issues to them.
Following the close relationship that children have with their caregivers, they learn and trust them as guides in life. However, child abusers who may be parents, relatives, or strangers violate the trust that children have in them (Cronley, Jeong, Davis & Madden, 2015).
Each child should have the opportunity to have a safe upbringing. However, an unknown number of children continue experiencing serious traumas because of abuse and parental neglect (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Child maltreatment and neglect restrict a person’s life.
Child abuse has a number of effects on how people behave, develop their abilities, and/or comprehend their duties (Moylan, Herrenkohl, Sousa, Tajima, Herrenkohl, & Russo, 2010). It causes many behavioral problems.
Sousa et al. (2011) reveal how child abuse and other cases of domestic violence considerably influence children and their further development. They become less attached to their caregivers, demonstrate antisocial behavior when they are adolescents, and/or become bad examples to their children or people around them.
It is not easy to recover from child abuse and trauma (Lemoncelli, 2012). People need professional help and explanations regarding why child abuse may take place and the effects that may be observed (Sansen et al., 2014).
Research by Sansen et al. (2014) has noted that children, who experience maltreatment if left alone or untreated, can be at a heightened probability of having future issues concerning their behaviors and emotions.
The problem of child abuse remains crucial for analysis, as people must understand its effects on human behavior and the urgency in preventing abuse.
Integrated Literature Review
Various studies have been carried out in an effort to address the issue of child abuse. Literature on child abuse is common in psychology, human rights and law, and education. Therefore, this study will explore the available literature on child abuse with the aim of identifying the existing information gaps that need to be filled.
Various authors have explored the area of child abuse.
For instance, Gloud, Clarke, Heim, Harvey, Majer, and Nemeroff (2012) discuss two main types of child abuse effects, namely neurocognitive aspects such as problems with “visual memory, executive functioning, and spatial working memory” (p. 503), and emotional problems and stresses that may bother children through their whole lifespan.
Gloud et al.’s (2012) study aims at providing a practical perspective of how the problem of child abuse can be noticed and solved.
Although special stress-management professionals can provide counseling, it is hard to figure out how consequences such as anger or social misunderstanding can be totally removed and/or whether additional investigations are required to explain how the society can understand and address child abuse effects (Lemoncelli, 2012).
Treatment for child abuse varies considerably because people are eager to offer helpful ideas and unique approaches. Some researchers have found it effective to focus on one particular aspect. For example, Moylan et al. (2010) view behavioral changes as the main problem that has to be solved.
Cloitre, Cohen, and Koenen (2011) regard mistreatment as a distressing vice that has to be analyzed and prevented through physiological, objective, or communal interventions by either the victim or the immediate caregivers. Iwaniec (2006) explains that the encouragement of cognitive self-regulation can solve the effects of child abuse.
The results of hypnosis, one means of treatment, prove that trauma types vary and that each effect should be thoroughly analyzed and considered from a professional point of view (Degun-Mather, 2006).
By analyzing certain financial operations, Fang, Brown, Florence, and Mercy (2012) identify the economic burden that relates to child abuse. They report that more than $30,000 is spent on each child’s health care costs.
Considering that more than 600,000 American children are defined as maltreatment victims annually, the actual sums are enormous (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Adults should understand that they steal from themselves when they demonstrate poor treatment to their children by making them suffer.
It seems better to follow some preventive ideas and suggestions and regard their importance since they help to decrease the number of disabled children in a society (Stalker & McArthur, 2012).
Acts of child abuse either sexual, physical, neglect, or emotional may completely alter the way children interact with the world (Khaleque, 2015). The relationship that children have with people in their immediate environment is highly dependent on their early socialization.
Their additional self-esteem foundation struggles with obstacles such as attempts to get along with other people (Berk, 2010). Some experts try to compare several consequences at the same time and explain how psychological, societal, physical, and behavioral issues predetermine a future member of a society.
The prevalence of child abuse is a common phenomenon in most parts of the world (Suglia, Clark, Boynton-Jarrett, Kressin & Koenen, 2014). Even if people think that they are far from such troubles, it is necessary to remember that they may communicate, work, or interact with people who have suffered from child abuse once.
This claim reveals why people have to know more about the effects of child abuse, the possible ways to treat people with such problems, ideas on how to help them, or ways to negate the abuse of the past. Mistreated children are found in all parts of society.
However, many mistreated children whom government agencies investigate come from ephemeral families whose members have little or no education. Gloominess, low financial standing, little or no earnings, and shoddy accommodation characterize them (Khaleque, 2015).
Antisocial behavior is one of the outcomes of child abuse and parental neglect that may be disclosed in a variety of forms (Sousa et al., 2011).
In comparison with other studies and investigations that have been mentioned above, Sousa et al.’s (2011) research underlines the importance of social approaches and the role of society in general on children and their relations with their parents.
Children are fully dependent on parents, guardians, or primary caregivers until a point where they can be self-reliant in life (Lanier, Kohl, Raghavan & Auslander, 2015). However, due to incidents of abuse, some children opt to run away from abusive caregivers in the early years of their lives.
In fact, in some instances, abusive parents are forcefully separated from their children by law enforcers. Hence, a historical issue can help to comprehend the reason behind a current problem.
Although some scholars such as Corby, Shemmings, and Wilkins (2012) assert that it is not possible to eliminate the problem of child abuse, the world is currently witnessing increased interventions.
Such interventions include civic education, parental counseling, and enactment of anti-corporal punishment laws in various states, including the US (Malcolm, 2012). In 1870, animal protection was placed above children’s protection through the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Child labor laws were legislated in 1906. However, the laws did not give security from other forms of maltreatment. Some children could not even guess how they became the victims of child abuse. They believed that their parents’ maltreatment was something ordinary that could not be changed.
Although the reasons for parental neglect may vary, the effects of child abuse are all the same since they destroy a personality or at least provoke unpleasant changes. As soon as a person is changed because of being abused physically, sexually, emotionally, or psychologically at home, the world undergoes certain changes.
Synthesis and Integration
Previous studies on child abuse indicate that trauma that a child experiences early in life can considerably increase the risk of numerous psychological and emotional problems (Shapero, Black, Liu, Klugman, Bender, & Alloy, 2014). Such problems lead to depression, emotional disorders, and stresses, which are usually hard to control and treat.
In spite of the fact that about 10 million children suffer from domestic violence, abuse, and parental neglect, little research has been conducted to help to support children who are under the threat of child abuse (Stalker & McArthur, 2012; Moylan et al., 2010).
People do not deny the fact that they know much about child abuse, its reasons, and effects. However, they do not want to develop the steps that can prevent the cases and/or provide children with appropriate care and understanding.
The nature of the effects of child abuse, its consequences in a society, and the most appropriate preventive methods should be considered (Lanier et al., 2015).
Child abuse and parental neglect are the two main problems that the current paper has discussed to prove that their effects are worth attention and recognition so they can be solved and prevented to provide children with the treatment and support they require.
The current study is based on a variety of sources. The four peer-reviewed articles create a solid basis for research. They disclose such topics as the effects of child abuse on behavior problems (Moylan et al., 2010) and child abuse and its effects on cognitive development in adulthood (Gloud et al., 2012).
They also present the necessity to integrate gender, age, and socio-cultural factors in preventing child abuse at home (Stalker & McArthur, 2012) and the attention to the economic aspect of child maltreatment (Fang et al., 2012).
In countries such as the United States and Britain, people know a little about how child abuse disables children. Adults do not want to understand how crucial the effects of their neglect can be on their children.
They can observe that their children may become more socially isolated and depressed without connecting the change to any reason (Moylan et al., 2010). However, they can hardly realize how many changes take place inside the child. A child’s personality is sensitive.
Any kind of maltreatment or shortage of attention may create a gap in development and cause emotional disorders that can appear in several years or even decades (Gloud et al., 2012).
In addition, the effects of child abuse may be of a financial character because child maltreatment usually leads to criminal justice costs, child welfare costs, with about $25 billion of federal, state, and local funds spent annually, and special education costs because maltreated children are in need of special education programs (Fang et al., 2012).
Fang et al.’s (2012) study shows a projected total yearly fiscal load of $124 billion concerning child maltreatment in the United States. Such numbers and effects should keep people from being indifferent to the issue of child abuse and its prevention.
In general, child abuse is a topic for discussion in many countries since it has a long history and a variety of effects (Shapero et al., 2014). Children may not even guess that they are victims of their parents’ neglect. They cannot understand the reasons for their emotional or psychological problems.
They sometimes try to use the help of specialists to learn what happened. However, the nature of child abuse effects is unpredictable.
Many people do not fully know how many long-term and immediate effects of child abuse and parental neglect exist and how varied their nature is. Maltreatment of children may lead to a variety of problems, ranging from anxiety, smoking, or drug use to improper brain, language development, or cancer risks.
The paper confirms that people do not pay enough attention to the problem of child abuse. Children face many challenges while trying to overcome the results of parental neglect. Hence, long-term and short-term child abuse effects, including physical, psychological, cognitive, and economic problems, continue bothering many people.
Based on the extent to which the issue of child abuse has been manifested in many countries, including the US, this research proposes the need to implement campaigns on child abuse, its effects, and the expected bright future of kids who do not face abuse during their childhood (Suglia et al., 2014, p.12).
Child maltreatment is a leading problem whose solution requires the involvement of people from different spheres of life. The effects of the problem touch many people and not just the children who suffer from maltreatment and the neglectful and abusive parents.
The effects also reach medical workers who have to solve the cognitive, development, and other physical child abuse problems. The effects also touch caregivers who aim at providing children with the required portion of knowledge about the world and life.
Other people in the society who interact with the victims of abuse as either children or adults also experience the effects.
The solutions to the problems that are defined in this project have to be properly organized and based on credible information and results of the aforementioned observations. Child abuse touches millions of families (Cloitre et al., 2011).
Some children who face sexual or physical abuse have psychological problems because of parental neglect (Lemoncelli, 2012). The outcomes of child abuse usually depend on a variety of factors such as the age of a child, the type of relationship between a child and a perpetrator, and the type of maltreatment.
This observation reveals why the chosen problem of child abuse effects is deemed the most crucial issue in this project.
In general, the evaluation of the behavior of the children who suffer from abuse and parental neglect shows that the effects are long-term and short-term (Sousa et al., 2011; Yang, 2015). Parents do not always recognize how hazardous their ill-treatment can be concerning the future of their kids.
Parents sometimes do not ask for professional help since they are afraid of criminal consequences. This situation leads to a considerable rise in the financial costs of child abuse (Fang et al., 2012). Professional help and therapy are obligatory for children who are the victims of maltreatment and abuse.
As this research confirms, the effects of child abuse are far-reaching and that they need to be addressed proactively to save and secure the future of the affected children (Cloitre et al., 2011).
Completed researches by Fang et al., (2012) and Moylan et al., (2010) have provided several ideas of how the chosen problem of child abuse should be evaluated together with several methods that can be implemented to solve it.
Because the effects of child abuse and parental neglect are a social issue, it (the issue) has to be solved within a particular society. The problem-solution process should begin with the identification of a community in which a child abuse campaign can be done as a way of creating awareness to the society.
The goal of the campaign is to present to the community the dangers that are associated with child abuse and the strategies that all stakeholders can adopt to secure the kids’ lives. It is necessary to prove that child abuse is a vital problem and that the issue of parental neglect and maltreatment needs more answers and explanations.
It is not enough to use the current statistics and base the project on the fact that more than half a million American children are the victims of their parents’ maltreatment.
The solution of the problem under consideration should be based on the following steps:
- The identification of the reasons for child abuse and parental neglect
- The classification of child abuse effects and their possible extent
- The identification of preventive methods that can be used for each type of abuse
- The formation of a description of a diagnosis and the identification of treatment for children who suffer from abuse
- The development of ideas to involve more people to protect children who are not able to cope with the challenges of abuse and neglect
The social implications of the chosen problem are crucial. First, the project serves as a powerful proof that child abuse is a problem that needs discussion and attention. Secondly, it should be proven that a society as a whole is the body that takes responsibility for its children.
If children suffer from the inability to overcome abuse and neglect, the society should find the most effective methods to improve the situation. Finally, the development of special programs and the creation of special organizations that are directed to the treatment of abused children should be promoted.
For example, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network aims to identify the standards of care for abused children. Many organizations use hypnosis with children who survive traumas from their parents’ maltreatment (Degun-Mather, 2006). Although these methods are effective, they only reduce the cases of child abuse by improving parent–children relations.
The current project should help to define the effects of child abuse and contribute to the prevention of maltreatment, taking into consideration the evaluation of a child’s condition, health, and the effects of abuse. Fang et al. (2012) identify short-term and long-term healthcare costs.
Sousa et al. (2011) address the societal tribulations, while Moylan et al. (2010) focus on behavioral tribulations. Each investigation addresses a specific aspect of why child abuse should be prevented. However, the researchers do not recommend the best strategy that can be applied to address the vice.
Such insufficient information on the issue is part of the main limitations of this paper. However, the social implications of the project that is under analysis confirm the possibility of changing the situation when certain measures are taken as discussed above.
A number of considerable marks characterize the problems that people face during their childhood. Children cannot even guess that parental neglect may define their future qualities and abilities. Some children cannot even recognize a case of child abuse.
Parents or caregivers of the affected children do not find it necessary to visit some experts for help (Stalker & McArthur, 2012). The identification of such problems and inabilities serve as the basis for the project about child abuse and its effects.
Children may suffer from emotional, physical, sexual, and other forms of abuse (Cloitre, 2011). Each type of abuse has its own effects on a child. Hence, it is not only necessary but also crucial to know how to help children who survive abuse and treat them properly.
The capstone project under analysis is an opportunity to persuade parents to make wise decisions to treat their children, learn the effects that can be observed after the cases of child abuse, and know how to prevent any further maltreatment.
The projects by Degun-Mather (2006) about the benefits of hypnosis, Fang et al. (2012) about the economic challenges that are caused by child abuse, and Moylan et al. (2010) about the peculiarities of domestic violence are crucial in this study.
They explain how it is better to identify the effects of child abuse and the possible impact of the menace on the society, children, and their parents.
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