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Child abuse can be described as a physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment of a child. In the United States more than three million reports of child abuse are reported annually, it has graduated in a terrible epidemic, and in fact it has been argued that over 20,000 American children are deemed to have been killed in their own shelters by family members over the elapsed 10 years.
Physical abuse of the child occurs when the parent causes any non-accidental physical injury to a child; sexual abuse on the other hand includes when a grown-up uses a minor for sexual purposes or at times involves the child in sexual acts. In the case of emotional abuse, it occurs when a parent or a caregiver harms the child's mental and social development and consequently, causes the child severe emotional harm (McCoy 46). Lastly, there is child neglect, which involves a parent or caregiver and does not give a care, supervision, support and affections that are needed for child's health well-being, and safety. This paper is going to describe child abuse in the United States.
Child abuse can be described as a complex phenomenon that often has multiple cases. It is of the essence to concede that understanding the cause of abuse is crucial to the addressing the problem of child abuse. Research has shown that in the United States, children that appear from unintended reproductions are more likely to be neglected and abused. In fact, neglect in the United States is by far the most common child abuse form and it accounts for more than 78% of all the cases. Substance abuse can also be another major contributing factor when it comes to child abuse and in fact, it has been observed, that parents that have documented substance abuse are more likely to mistreat their children. Further, unemployment and financial difficulties have also been associated with child abuse (McCoy 12).
It is important to understand that child abuse can often result into several immediate and adverse physical effects; however, in many cases it is often strongly associated with developmental issues as well as many chronic psychological effects. The immediate physical effects of child abuse can often be relatively minor this includes cuts and bruises to severe effects such as broken bones to death. In terms of psychological problems, it is important to understand that children that have a history of neglect are often at a higher risk of developing psychiatric problems and a disorganized attachment style. In fact, in the United States many children that are abused eventually form a psychological issue, and some of these issues often include eating disorders, OCD, depression, and anxiety. There is also a correlation of those children that have been abused to become child abusers themselves.
In order to prevent child abuse, there is a need to create support-group structure that is need to reinforce parenting skills and to closely monitor the child's well-being. It is of the essence to perceive that visiting home nurse or the social workers visits are often required in order to observe as well as evaluate the progress of the child and the caretaking situation. The United States has designated April as the child abuse prevention month. This is intended to ensure that there is education regarding child abuse and that parents understand that there are laws protecting children. There are several treatments that are often available when it comes to the victims of juvenile abuse.
It is of the essence to understand that trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy is developed to treat the sexually abused children, and it is currently being used for all the kinds of trauma for children. The abuse focused-cognitive is often designed for children that have experienced physical abuse, and it often targets the externalizing of different behaviors and it strengthens the different pro-social behaviors.
Lastly, there is also the use of parent-child interaction therapy that is often designed to improve the child-parent relationship that follows the experience of domestic violence (Jenny 94). It is of the essence to agree that the parent-child interaction therapy often targets trauma-related symptoms in infants, preschoolers, and toddlers. There also exists some other forms of treatment for child abuse, and it often includes group therapy, art therapy, and play therapy.
There are several organizations that exist at the state, national and county levels in the United States that often provide community leadership in the prevention of child maltreatment as well as neglect. It is of the essence to note that the many investigations in child abuse are often handled on a local level by different child advocacy centers (Jenny 73). There is a need for more groups to be formed and for them to focus on specific prevention strategies in order to reduce the amount of cases of child abuse in the US.
In conclusion, the child abuse includes sexual abuse, neglect, physical abuse and emotional abuse, and it has been increasing in the United States. The causes for child abuse include substance abuse, unintended pregnancies and financial woes in the families. There is, however, a need to prevent these child abuse cases in order to keep children safe and for them to grow in the right manner.
McCoy, Monica L, and Stefanie M. Keen. Child Abuse and Neglect. New York: Psychology Press, 2009. Print.
Investigation and Prosecution of Child Abuse. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2004. Print.
Jenny, Carole. Child Abuse and Neglect: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Evidence. St. Louis, Mo: Saunders/Elsevier, 2011. Internet resource.
The ultimate measure of the welfare of the society is in its ability to take care of health and welfare of its children. The maltreatment of young children is a real issue in the world. However, it is more disturbing to note that the United States of America is also among the countries that have wide maltreatment issues of children. The debate and research conducted to ascertain the case of maltreatment of children is still lacking in the production of self-reports about child mistreatment. The children have to deal with many obstacles in their attempts to report the incidences of maltreatment to the authorities. However, in as much as there are obstacles in the reporting of cases of maltreatment by the children, there are a few reports that are made to the child protection services by the children victims (Kesner, 2007). This paper aims at providing an analysis of the reports made to the children department by the victims of child maltreatment. The paper will provide an all-inclusive and a multifaceted comparison of the children that make reports to the child protection services.
In order to understand the extents at which child maltreatment is an issue in the United States it is important for the paper to look at the cause of children deaths. A focus into the matter leads to the determination of the fact that the second leading cause of children deaths in the United States is maltreatment (Kesner, 2007). There are various attempts made by the government to control the prevalence of the vice in the society. However, the vice is still rampant. The laws passed to mandate various professionals to make reports of suspected cases of child maltreatment have led significant reduction in the number of cases. However, there is still a lot that the government and society have to do in order to root out the vice out of society.
Various barriers hinder the children from reporting their own maltreatment to the authorities. One of the most prevalent drivers for the fear or lack of reports on child abuse or maltreatment is the fact that the children cannot access the authorities or institutions. The failure of the authorities in accommodating the children in the reporting phase of the violence makes it hard for any child to make any reports unless he or she goes through an intermediary (Kesner, 2007). The intermediaries are not necessarily open to the idea of helping the children report the cases. They proceed to make their own determination of the merit of reporting the incidents to the authorities at the detriment of the wishes of the maltreatment or abuse. The issue gets more complicated when the confidant of the maltreatment is the very one that promotes it.
The fears of the victim also influence the reporting of the cases to the authorities. Children may fail to make reports to the professionals charged with child protection out of the fear of the consequences (Watkins, 2009). Child maltreatment victims express fears of retaliation by the perpetrators, victimization by the members of the society, stigma or the simple lack of belief by the authority or the professional. The above fears or barriers lead to a gross misrepresentation of the facts about child maltreatment in the United States. The above factors lead to the false image on the child maltreatment in the United States.
However, in as much as there are barriers that may seem insurmountable to the children, there are some statistics that indicate that the children also go ahead and report their issues of maltreatment to the authorities (Kesner, 2007). The tallying and reporting of the incidences of self-reports of maltreatment tend to mark the end of such reports. There are not detailed accounts on how the authorities deal with the same reports. This could be ensuing from the fact that society does not take its children any serious.
The profiles of the children that report their maltreatment to the society indicate that the majority of the reports come from female children. The average age of the children that report their maltreatment averages at 13.2 years. The age of the self-reporters may not be necessarily indicative of the entire group since the methods that the research used to arrive at the conclusion was by using reports from the eldest child in a family where more than one child undergoes any maltreatment.
This means that the average age of the children under maltreatment could be lower than the one indicated above. The majority of the self-reports came from white children. This may be an indicator that the white children are more encouraged to express their experiences than the other children are. It may also mean that the government and other stakeholders have to increase the empowerment programs that target the children from other races apart from the Caucasian children (Kesner, 2007). The children that have experienced maltreatment before seemed reluctant to come out and report the issues to the authorities compared to the ones that had experienced the maltreatment for the first time. The cases of the child maltreatment ended up being substantiated but at a considerable slow rate of 20 days. In all the substantiated cases of child maltreatment, girls were the major victims. The white children were among the largest number of children with substantiated information on the child maltreatment.
The data given above indicates that the incidences of child maltreatment are rampant in the society. There are different driving factors behind the increase in the case of child abuse. In most of the cases, there child abuse comes from the close member of the family or a person that the child has come to trust. This person may be a peer or a close adult. This precedent makes it hard for the government to control the incidence of such cases. The cases will occur irrespective of the effort of the government to curb the vice since there is no certain approach of telling where the next child molester will come from (Almond, 2006).
In some of the adverse cases, the children are naïve to trust the victim such that even after the child has undergone the maltreatment, they are ready to lie to cover the perpetrator. This is a common element in the event that the child is facing maltreatment from the member of the family. The security and the guilt of coming out and speaking about the maltreatment make the child to suffer in silence (Kesner, 2007). The only approach of knowing whether a child has been a victim of maltreatment when the child is willing to hide, the perpetrator is by looking at the telltale signs when the child is around the person.
The traditional outlook of a child as a pure being was an important factor in protecting the child from any case of maltreatment. The traditional outlook was that a child was a pure being that ought not to be touched. This view was a major deterrent to the maltreatment of children out of any other motive (Watkins, 2009). The members of the traditional society sought to protect the purity of their children by ensuring that their children were in controlled environments. However, modernization is not for the same ideology. The advancement of the Freudian theories on freedom changes the outlook of the society on various important issues that determine whether there will be maltreatment or not.
The danger with child abuse is that it can take many subtle forms. The notion that child abuse is comes from the physical abuse only is a little misguided. Child abuse takes four predominant forms. The forms of child abuse are neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse (Pratt, 2005). The most recurrent type of abuse is sexual abuse. However, this is not indicative that the other forms of child abuse do not take place in society. In fact, the society still abuses the children using the other three forms of child abuse, in most of the cases, the society abuses this forms of abuse more than it uses the sexual abuse.
In most of the western nations, there is a widespread outlook towards child abuse. The western states are always very keen on protecting their children from any effects of child abuse. However, the efforts to curb the prevalence of the vice do not necessarily have an impact on the child abuse prevalence and possible recurrence (Lowry, 2006). In most of the cases, the prevention efforts of child abuse lead to the development of other outlooks of the same abuse.
In the event that the child moves to the social services officials or any other people that are mandated to handle the issue of child abuse and makes a report of the first time incidence of child abuse, the chances are members of the society will judge the child harshly (Kesner, 2007). This is often and the real issue when the child reports and abuse form a member of the family or a prominent person in the society (Watkins, 2009). This approach means that the child will just undergo a transition from one type of child abuse to the other. The society may start stigmatizing the child such that he or she contemplates suicide. The emotional abuse has a bigger effect on children that have been abused than the physical abuse.
The danger of a child that is undergoing emotional abuse is that the child does not manifest the signs of the abuse until it has degenerated into the situation that call for better handling of the issue. The other striking aspect when it comes to psychological or emotional abuse of the child is that children often undergo the abuse in conjunction with another type of abuse (Grapes,2001). This means that it is one of the recurrent forms of child abuse in the United States of America and the majority of the developed countries. The approaches of dealing with the child abuse have to change such that they lay more emphasis on the psychological effects of any kind of child abuse. This approach will be a guarantee of a solution to the problems that face the children.
Neglect, which is a child abuse, is subtle in nature. The child may not be noticing that he or she is being neglected to the extent to making reports to the child protective services. This means that the identification of a child that is neglected is not easy. It is even harder to identify neglect owing to the private life of the people. In the modern western societies, the children that have the issues of neglect are not easily noticed unless when they start indicating the signs of neglect. This means that the child will have reached the point of breaking when the professionals will be able to note the change in behavior.
Therefore, the society does not necessarily end up helping much when it comes to neglect unless when the incidence of neglect is out rightly manifested. However, some types of neglect are not evident. A parent or a guardian may have the ability to take care of the physical need of his or her child (Almond, 2006). However, the parent may be a big flop when it comes to the basic issue of the provision of the emotional need of the same child. This means that the child will look okay and well taken care and brought up of in the eyes of the child protection services professionals such as teachers and social workers while in the real sense, the child is not okay. This means that the child protection services officials have a lot of issues that they must handle when in the protection of the child from any form of abuse.
Almond, L. (2006). Child abuse. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press.
Grapes, B. J. (2001). Child abuse. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press.
Kesner, J. E. (2007). Self-reports of child maltreatment in the us: a key social indicator. Social Indicators Research, 83 (1), pp. 117--124.
Lowry, L. (2006). Gossamer. Boston [Mass.]: Houghton Mifflin.
Pratt, J. (2005). Child sexual abuse: purity and danger in an age of anxiety. Crime, Law And Social Change, 43 (4-5), pp. 263--287.
Watkins, H. (2009). Child abuse. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
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