Child abuse and Neglect
In the subject of the dynamics of child neglect and abuse, there are several indicators of risk, as well as risk factors. Child abuse can be described as the physical maltreatment, emotional maltreatment, sexual maltreatment, and or psychological maltreatment of a child or minor as described, by the law, by their parents, guardians, or by people who are supposed to be responsible for the child’s welfare.
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A person who is responsible for a minor can as well describe child neglect as omissions, which lead to either physical or psychological suffering by the minor. Child abuse is dynamic because the law can only describe it broadly though each case qualifies on its own about the definitions as provided for by the law. Physical, psychological, sexual, and emotional abuse are among the indicators of child abuse.
Physical abuse happens when a physical injury is inflicted on a child when the child is subjected to acts and activities that lead to injuries on the child’s body. These injuries might be due to intentional acts as well as unintentional acts. In most cases, physical abuse happens due to acts of aggression by someone who is an adult to a minor or someone who is older than the child and one who understands that certain acts on the child are not proper within societal norms. Physical abuse happens at different thresholds. There is mild physical abuse, as well as extreme physical abuse.
Forms of physical abuse consist of slapping, pinching, hitting, shaking, kicking, and many other forms of assault that cause physical injury. In many instances, the line between physical abuse of a child and physical punishment is very thin because they are almost the same thing under the law. Physical punishment on a child is meant to cause bodily pain to a child as a way of correction to cause deterrence so that a minor is discouraged from committing certain acts (Dunne 146). As a risk factor, the act of punishing a child physically at times leads to physical abuse by the person executing the punishment.
The use of too much force or amount of punishment exceeding the threshold of what is acceptable transforms physical punishment into physical abuse. Physical abuse can also happen when a pregnant woman, whose acts influence the unborn baby, indulges in activities that would harm the unborn baby. Such activities like smoking, alcoholism, and the use of drugs affect the healthy development of the unborn child to the extent that it can lead to physical and mental deformation, premature birth, or unintended abortion. Sexual abuse can be described as any sexual activity between an adult and a minor.
It includes sexual intercourse, rape, sodomy, rape, fondling of a child, indecent exposure of an adult towards a child, violation of bodily privacy of a child, commercial sexual exploitation of a child, as well as exposing minors to adult sexuality. Sexual abuse is explicitly described by the law, which is meant to protect the child from acts that may have an immediate or future impact on the child’s welfare. Some acts lead to physical pain and injury, while others lead to psychological torment when the child grows up, thus leading to abnormal behavioral characters that are disturbing in nature to a person.
Signs of sexual abuse in a child can include a child showing fear towards a particular member of the family or when the child feels insecure, thus avoiding some people. Things and situations like the child being aggressive and full of anger, as well as when the child is knowledgeable in sexual matters to an extent, that exceeds what the child should know (Dunne 148), are also signs of sexual abuse.
It is generally an act of omission by a person, society, or even government. It happens when a child is denied things that are crucial to the welfare of a child towards its survival and upbringing. Neglect happens when a child is systematically denied basic needs in a repeated manner. It comes in the form of physical neglect, emotional neglect, as well as educational neglect (Dunne 149). A neglected child tends to suffer without knowing what is going on, although its behavior will depict that something is wrong.
They tend to show an affinity for what they lack or do not show interest at all. To take care of these abusive activities, the state or local governments can put the following interventions in place as a way of securing children’s welfare. The state government should come up with legislations that protect the child besides setting up structures within the government down to the local authorities to sensitize the community, as well as monitoring children’s protection programs. The local governments should set up structures on the ground to train personnel on community service to run the child protection initiatives.
Provisional protection and care
Bringing up a child into provisional protection follows a systematic process. The provisional protection and care of a child or young person in Australia are catered for under The Children and Community Services Act of 2004. This Act stipulates the circumstances under which a child or a young person can be put under provisional protection and care, and also gives the steps that should be taken to achieve this. This act also contains several objects and principles that must be taken into consideration in the administering of the Act. The core principle that drives this act is “The Best Interest of The Child is Paramount” ((Duncan 966).
The Department of Child protection has set out steps to be followed when a case of a child or a young person needing protection comes up. The first step involves the Department responding to a query that has been brought to its attention by acting in a planned manner within a given period depending on the vulnerability of the child, the risk it is exposed to, and the gravity of the concern. The response to the raised query will be taken with consideration to sensitivity to differences in religion, culture, language, and special needs of the Aboriginal group and the Torres Strait Islanders people (Duncan 967).
The response and subsequent action will be sensitive to culture, religion, language, gender, and the special needs of people from diverse linguistically backgrounds as well as culturally diverse backgrounds. The staff from the child protection department has to respond professionally in a transparent and accountable manner by basing their decision on the best interest of the child. After the assessment and recommendation by the whole department, a decision is then made on what protection action is required. A senior officer will accept or decline a recommendation of whether the case should proceed to the step of Safety and Wellbeing Assessment (SWA) or further investigation.
It will depend on whether the claim is substantiated or not. If the claim is substantiated, the case will go to the SWA or further investigation. However, it will be dropped or reviewed if it is not (Duncan 969). The investigation is conducted or should be conducted in a manner that would minimize any forms of trauma to the child or young person and offer the family a chance to natural justice thus maximizing on the opportunity to engage the whole family with the view of protecting the child’s welfare on the long term. The department will then take an SWA or investigation with the child’s or young person’s view, being considered depending on their age, and then immediate safety measures are taken.
Where the investigation indicates that the victim has suffered or might suffer harm, protective action has to be taken. Where there is concern regarding the safety and wellbeing of a child or young person, a written safety and assessment plan should be developed on the case (Duncan 966). Appropriately, families will be referred to relevant social services. Once a child or young person has been placed under care and protection, some further policies and procedures protect them while under care.
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Effective communication in a child protection/family intervention environment is paramount for the sake of achieving the objective of securing the best interests of the child. Effective communication encompasses all the communication between the child and the officers, the officers and the parents, disciplines, and the agencies as well as proper records that offer a chronology of the events as they occurred. In the matter of records, it also involves the proper keeping of records as well as the transfer of records from one office to the other without losing the said records (Dunne 752).
As part of effective communication, caregivers should fashion the kind of family support they give to each case to respond to the style of parenting for each case. The argument holds because though most child abuse cases correspond with one another, each case remains unique on its own (Dunne 753). The way a childcare protection officer engages a family will mostly determine if the engagement will work or not, and it will be the same for voluntary clients and involuntary clients.
It is always important to explain to the young people, their parents, and their families the importance of engaging with care providers. This form of communication opens up the intended persons to appreciate and cooperate with service providers. Effective communication involves the transfer and sharing of information between agencies in case there is a change in the jurisdiction in the handling of a given case (Dunne 754).
It can happen when a client or victim moves from one area to another, where the present office dealing with the case has no jurisdiction. Proper and timely transfer of information will enable the new jurisdiction to pick up from where the previous one had left and continue monitoring the cases with proper continuity. A communication breakdown can lead to loss of vital data and information and which can be detrimental to a child or young person needing protection.
Measures to be put in place to measure the effectiveness of the service
Different measures can be put in place to measure the effectiveness of the service being offered. One such measure is a continuous evaluation of the service. This measure is meant to find out if the service is meeting its intended objectives or not. Evaluations are important because they are a measure of quality assurance and will always enable the caregivers and institutions to gauge their performances against setting out parameters.
Evaluations are important because they are determinants of whether or not the intervention is of benefit to the victim. Evaluation of interventions can happen in three levels: Primary level: this is when an intervention is offered before a problem occurs, and it is offered to the whole community as a deterrence measure. Secondary intervention is targeted at families at risk and is meant to alleviate the impending problem. Tertiary intervention is meant for families who already have a problem with child abuse, and it is meant to reverse the problem or stem it from further development.
Therefore, when an evaluation is applied at these levels of intervention, one will be able to tell if the whole system is working or not. Indicators should be put in place as monitoring tools for issues within the system. Such indicators include safety indicators. These are indicators will show whether a child or client is in danger of a certain problem. It is a measure of a child’s safety. Safety indicators are in three forms: maltreatment recurrence, maltreatment in out of home care, and re-entry in foster care. With these safety indicators put in place, one can assess the system and find out if it is achieving its objective in ensuring the safety of the child.
Permanency indicators should be used to measure whether the children find a stable abode and with minimal movement, whether in reunification with their parents or other foster care. The third indicator, in this case, is the wellbeing indicator. The purpose of the child welfare system is to enhance the well-being of the child and family. This indicator will enable the care provider to measure whether they are achieving the objective of preserving the child’s welfare, which is paramount in this case. These assessment tools are used to test the outcomes of a program before the participant goes in and after the participant has gone through it.
This kind of testing of participants enables the care providers to come up with data that will show if the program is a success or not because it will give the difference between before and after the program. Collection of data leads to the creation of records, and records offer a historical background to a problem and situation. Therefore, proper record keeping can be used as a measure of measuring the effectiveness of the service because it will give data that can be used to tell whether a certain case was a success or not.
The cycle of domestic violence
Domestic violence can be described as violence meted out by one spouse to the other. It can be from a husband to wife or vice versa depending on individual cases. It is a pattern of violence meted out between people in an intimate relationship like marriage, dating, cohabitation, or family. Domestic violence happens in a cycle that allows it to be observed before it can be concluded to be domestic violence. The first part of the cycle is when tension between the two parties starts to build up due to different factors. It can be driven by anger due to actions by the opposite partner. When there is no control over the tension, it might just burst the bubble and lead to a physical confrontation. The vulnerable party might try to cool down the situation by playing submissive to the aggressive party, but this might not work.
The vulnerable party might also become confrontational to the situation, thus escalating the situation. The second part is the actual battering phase. It is the phase when the real physical abuse happens when violence is meted out to the vulnerable party. It happens when the aggressive party attacks the victim, and it can be both provoked and unprovoked. At this stage, the aggressor usually loses his/her emotional balance to attack the victim physically as a way of pushing the victim into submission or as a way of releasing the tension inside them. The third phase of domestic violence is the honeymoon phase.
In this phase, the aggressor gets back to his senses by being remorseful and by making peace with the victim. In some cases, they are not remorseful at all. They will act as if nothing happened. The aggressor will be calm until again when the tension will start to rise again, leading to the first phase of the cycle.
Child development is the different stages in the life of a child from infancy to the period around adolescence. It comprises of biological changes that happen to a child’s body, psychological changes as well as physical changes that happen to a child’s body. Child development is usually influenced by genetic factors, prenatal factors, and the environment in which the child grows in. different theories try to explain child development by coming up with stages that a child goes through in their development. Piaget came up with four developmental stages in a child as follows:
The sensory-motor stage 0-2 years
According to Piaget, this stage is based on the schema. Schema is a mental representation of things that shows how people deal with them. Piaget explains that the first schemas in a baby are found in movement. The baby is reflexive and much of their movement is set off by certain stimuli. The baby can receive some information after a few weeks and thus starts to move limbs in response to stimuli. It is called action schemas. The baby will then start recognizing objects around it, and when they have moved away, they cease to exist. Babies develop abilities to construct mental pictures. When objects are moved away, the infant would start looking for it. It is what is defined as object permanence.
Pre-operation stage 2-7 years
This stage occurs to a child between the ages of 2 years to 7 years. The child’s vocabulary expands at this stage and their thoughts too are developed though not to the logical level of an adult. The child is egocentric at this stage and expects everyone to see things from its point of view. However, with time, their thoughts decentralize. The child will exhibit animism at this stage by giving consciousness to any object and treat it as though it has life. The third face of this stage is symbolism. Everything to the child is seen as a symbol to something, and this thought is followed by moral realism meaning a child’s moral point of view is what everyone shares in.
Concrete operation stage 7-11 years
During this stage, the child acquires rational thinking. During this stage, a child can manipulate objects, and the geocentrism in it tends to decline drastically. Children, in this case, acquire operational thoughts and can build up imaginary scenarios, and the question of what if dominates their mind. The divide between the concrete operational stage and the formal operational stage is minimal.
Formal operations stage 11-16 years
This stage starts at around 11 years, and it is fully achieved at 15 years. The adolescent’s thoughts are now organized logically, with the adolescent being able to think out possible solutions to a problem by elimination. Adolescents use hypothetical deductive reasoning. At the same time, the stage allows them to be propositional.
Mental health can be described, as the mental well-being of a person in the absence of any form of mental disorder. It is the general cognitive as well as emotional wellbeing, and it is in how we think, how we feel about issues, and how we behave. Examples of mental disorders include; phobias panic disorders, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder as well as depression, among others.
Depression is the feeling of extreme sadness, loneliness despair to such an extent that it affects someone’s life and his or her routine (Dunne 749). Some of the ideas I could share with a client having depression include counseling. A person facing depression can be helped through counseling as a way of offering the persona window to ventilate what might be pressing them down. At times, depressed people do not know what is affecting them, and engaging them in a talk enables them to see their problem and how to sort it. I would advise the person to engage in activities like sports, which will refresh their bodies and minds besides taking away some of the issues that depress the mind of the person.
When the body is actively engaged, it gathers all the concentration that the brain has into the activity at hand. I would advise the person to break from routine and take a rest. It is for workaholics because a break from routine might just refresh their minds. I would advise the person to change the environment they are staying in by taking a vacation as a way of exciting their brains with new ideas, as seen by the eyes.
Disability and its effects on the child and the family
Disability is a broad term covering impairments in persons and limiting a person’s participation in activities. Disability comes in mental, sensory, physical, emotional developmental, or more than one combination of these, among others. Disability can be congenital, or it can happen during one’s lifetime (Dunne 750). Disability in children influences the child, as well as the family in which the child lives, mostly in a negative manner. A child born with any form of disability will always attract unwanted attention from the public. Such attention leads to stigmatization of the victim, with the victim feeling unique in the wrong way that he/she would not like.
A child with a disability in a family setting may influence the state of the parent’s marriage in different ways: a negative way, a positive way, or in both directions. When a child is born with disabilities or acquires a disability, the situation is usually received with mixed reactions like anger, denial, shame, embarrassment, and guilt. Some parents and families tend to live in denial of this fact. Thus, they are continuously affected by the thoughts of their child is disabled. This happens most in cases where the child is born with the problem rather than when it acquired it along the way.
The negative impact of this situation leads to families of the disabled hiding their child from the public eye because they feel embarrassed about it. They try not to identify with the disabled as their own. It impacts negatively on the victim as it is denied a sense of belonging and identity as well, thus emotional anguish. In some situations, having a child with a disability might even lead to the breaking up of the marriage. It happens in societies where disability is associated with bad luck or as a sign of bad omen or inferiority. Disability in a child might force the family to make special arrangements in their normal routines to accommodate the disabled child.
It happens in situations like when one is organizing to travel where the family might have to engage in extra logistical arrangements for the disabled child because it cannot fit in the normal arrangement. It incurs the family extra costs and time, and may as well deny them certain opportunities like holidays in case the arrangement does not fit the disabled child. A disabled child in a family might force the whole family to limit their diet to that of the disabled child or have two different diets prepared for the family. These happen to families with children, suffering from autism. Thus, they are required to eat specific foods so as not to aggravate the condition.
The siblings of children who are disabled are also affected. In this case, siblings are faced with negative remarks from the community about their siblings’ condition especially when the remarks are in jest. Siblings of children with disabilities are at times supposed to act as caregivers for one of their own. It is a form of involuntary detention of the child. It deprives the child of its space to grow by loading it with responsibilities at a very early age. Thus, it might even affect its growth psychologically. Raising a child with a disability might lead to extra-economic costs that the family could live without if the circumstances were normal.
For instance, when a child has certain disabilities that require permanent medication as the only way to control it, it becomes an expensive cost to the family, especially if the family cannot afford it. In the Australian communities, where there is a belief in reincarnation, disability can be viewed with extreme negativity and even lead to stigmatization of the disabled child by its siblings. It is because the disabled child is viewed as a reincarnated spirit of an evil person being punished for bad deeds in the previous life, and nobody ever wants to associate with evil persons. Having a child with a disability can also influence positively in a family that was previously tearing apart.
When faced with the problem of having to put efforts together for the sake of the child, some families are usually humbled by the situation. They tend to try to help one another with the burden. An example is that of a father who was previously alcoholic and abusive in marriage and then when the wife gives birth to a disabled child, he feels so sorry for the wife that he gets close to her and tries to do all that would make her comfortable even if it means quitting alcohol.
Homelessness in Australia
Homelessness is a situation whereby an individual or group lack a safe and regular abode where they can always retire to at the end of the day. In Australia, homelessness is caused by different factors that lead to a person living rough on the streets or having to live in shelters for the homelessness. Homelessness can occur due to economic factors in different ways. An individual can be rendered homeless due to loss of income, thus being unable to afford the rent for their housing needs.
It can happen when one loses their jobs or even when the rent for their abodes rises so much that they cannot afford it. Another reason for homelessness is the rising costs of housing units in Australia to the extent that many in society cannot afford to buy their own houses while at the same time cannot afford rent. Alcoholism and drugs that are evident in Australia can lead people to become homeless by making them comfortable to live rough on the streets. Most homeless victims due to alcoholism and drugs are driven to this situation by their addiction, which is expensive to maintain, and thus can only afford to buy drugs and nothing more, thus ending up on the streets. Some homeless victims have been sent to the streets from their homes due to the violence that they have faced.
Thus, they lose the only shelter they may have, and without any other option, they become homeless with nowhere to go. Homelessness has occurred in Australia following the death of the breadwinner who had dependants leaving them with no one else to care for them. It happens mostly to the Australian children who are fully dependent on a particular individual and who are not in a position to help themselves.
Homelessness occurs when prisoners are released from jail without anywhere to go and without money to rent a place. It forces these people to find life in the Australian streets by living rough as they try to find their bearings in life.
For some time, the government of Australia has funded the homeless service system. It has been done through the supported accommodation assistance program at the federal level. It has enabled the government to provide about 1300 housing shelters across Australia with a capacity of three million accommodations per night. The government has also come up with different policies that would enable many people to afford a roof on their heads.
One such policy is the “Rent Assistance Program.” This program enables categories of people to receive rent assistance from the government as a form of subsidy so that they can afford certain housing units. The government has also come up with a program for low rent housing units that can be afforded by people with low income or generally the lower class. The problem facing this program is that people who can afford housing at higher levels thus denying the deserving groups now occupy most of these units.
Making Effective Referrals
A referral is can be described as directions are given by one party to the other to seek further assistance or solutions from a specific source. A person makes referrals or expert who understands one’s problem or needs for a solution to a specific place or person who will provide further assistance than what has so far been provided (Duncan 966). A good referral is one that can provide a solution to a specific person’s problems thus alleviate the problems. It should be run by professionals in the given field. Thus, it offers professional services to its clientele. A good referral would involve the expert informing the client of what is going on with the client, the reasons for making a referral, and what help the client should expect.
It should also involve prior communication by the expert with the center the expert is referring one too, so that, when he/she gets there, the recipients already have the information. A good referral involves the expert keeping in touch with the client to make sure that the client has reported to the referred place and that help has been offered. This can happen through collaboration between the expert and the referral center by sharing information on the given case. As an expert, I would contact the client afterward and subject them to an interview that is tailored to find out if the needs of the client were met at the referred center or what solutions were offered.
Suicidal ideations can be described as suicidal thoughts and ideas that one might have about killing themselves. It involves a detailed plan on how the person wishes to kill themselves but does include the actual action happening. Some suicidal ideations can be planned though somehow they do not happen, some can be discovered before they happen, some suicidal attempts can be stopped from happening and some can be deliberately planned to fail. Suicidal ideations have the following warning signs:
- A person develops too much interest in suicide literature by reading about how to commit suicide, watching the suicidal video, and by listening to music that encourages suicide.
- A person threatens to commit suicide repeatedly whenever they have a problem or just as part of their conversations from the blues. This is their inner voice expressing their hidden thoughts or general thought processes.
- A person becomes so depressed and loses interest in many things that would excite them under normal circumstances. Such persons tend to become extremely quiet most of the time while keeping to themselves most of the time away from the rest of the world.
- One comes from a family with a history of suicide. It should always be counted as a possibility that the person might also be having suicidal threats. Suicide at times tends to be genetic in a way, though there is no scientific backing of this situation.
- A person shows severe remorse for a mistake they have committed and seem to be hard done by what they have done that their regret is so deep and uncontrollable.
Duncan, Peter. “Dealing with systems and understanding contexts.” Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 27.5 (2011): 964-969. Print.
Dunne, Paul, et al. “Health and Demographic Characteristics of Volunteers in an Australian National Sexuality Survey”. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 56.1 (2002): 748-753. Print.
Dunne, Paul. “Is Child sexual Abuse Declining.” Child Abuse and Neglect 27.1 (2003): 141-152. Print.