Proposed Social Issue
Over the years, child abuse has been a contemporary social issue in most countries around the world. Child abuse can best be described as a state of undermining the rights of children. Children, especially those below five years are at high risk of injury from their parents, friends, and other members of the society. It has become so rampant, to levels that lead to affecting the well-being of the children. For many years, children have been affected both socially and at school by abuse. According to Klevens (2007), child abuse leads to increased levels of depression and stress to the affected group, and in some instances even suicide. It is therefore essential to develop more in-depth insight on this matter, with the aim of addressing child abuse and thus producing sustainable solutions to curb the same. This paper dwells mostly on the history of child abuse, the different factors that promote it, as well as the group at risk of injury. Similarly, much focus will be put on the most suitable policies and relevant bodies with the mandate of protecting the rights of children. The goal of this paper is therefore to improve the reader's knowledge concerning the abuse of children, as well as the responsibility of every individual in the society in protecting their rights. Similarly, it will shed light on the effects child abuse has, not only to children, but also the community as a whole. As earlier mentioned, child abuse is a major contemporary issue that has over the years been on a discussion, most specifically because it affects the quality of life of those affected. We should understand the various factors that promote this vice, thus develop sustainable policies and solutions (Lansford, 2002).
As previously mentioned, child abuse has been put in creative writing in most regions of the world. Most of these reports have indicated instance s of mutilation, infanticide, abandonment as well as other forms of violence against young children. Any international approach to the abuse of children takes account of the various parenting standards habits taking into consideration the vast array of cultures that exist. It is therefore worth appreciating the fact that different cultural groups have different policies and rules concerning the acceptable parenting habits and models. According to WHO, child mistreatment and abuse incorporate all forms of emotional and physical abuse on children. Also, it constitutes sexual abuse, negligence, as well as commercial exploitations on this vulnerable group. All these habits of ill-treatment result in possible or even actual injury to the children's continued existence, wellbeing, dignity and general development (Daro, 2002). It is, however, significant to understand that some researchers focus on defining child abuse by parental behaviors. This chapter will, therefore, focus on the acts of omission and commission by parents and guardians that in one way or other results to possible or actual harm to the children. Mainly, it dwells on the prevalence, factors that promote, and the subsequent consequences of child mistreatment. The main categories of child abuse are bodily, sexual, emotional, and neglect.
To begin with, bodily abuse of children is described merely as the behaviors of duty by a guardian, parent, or caretaker that led to actual bodily injury to the child. Secondly, sexual abuse happens when a guardian or parent manipulates a young child for self-sexual gratification. Thirdly, the moving violation occurs when a guardian or parent fails in providing a supportive and caring environment. Likewise, emotional abuse consists of habits that pose adverse effects on the emotional development of the child. These kinds of acts might include restrictions on the child's movement, ridicule, intimidation, threats, rejection, and discrimination as well as other non-physical forms of hostility. The fourth kind of child abuse is that of neglect. It describes the malfunction of a guardian, caretaker or parent to be responsible and offer for the growth of the child. This responsibility might include proving in areas such as education, health, emotional development, shelter, nutrition, and general secure living conditions. Therefore, neglect can be differentiated from instances of poverty in the sense that it can happen where the reasonable resources are present to the family. The forms as mentioned above of abuse are the most common and are experienced with a considerable number of individuals globally.
Population that Child Abuse affects
A report done by the World Health Organization estimates that there are over fifty thousand mortality cases that are attributed to child abuse. The same report also suggests that infants are at most significant risk of harm. Despite the numerous misclassifications, there is unison that fatalities from childhood abuse are more frequent compared to others. We understand that child abuse and neglect manifests itself in a wide array of forms, depending on the different cultures that exist worldwide. In some instances, injuries that are inflicted on a child may take various types. Similarly, abuse may take the form of a shaken infant. In simple words, swinging is the most common form and prevalent form of child abuse in children. Most of the children affected by this are usually below nine months of age. Most of the perpetrators of this kind of child abuse are men. It is so because the male gender tends to have higher strength than females, and thus apply more force to the vulnerable group of children. It is evident that close to one-fourth of severing traumatized infants lose their lives and the common of those that luckily survived suffer from long-term health implications such as blindness, cerebral palsy, and even mental retardation. Likewise, there exists the 'battered child' in this broad topic of child abuse. It is one of the most common syndromes that result from child abuse. The term battered child is mostly used to describe those children that repeatedly exhibit devastating injuries to the skin, nervous system, and skeletal system. It also incorporates those children with multiple fractures and episodes of trauma. As previously mentioned in the introductory part, children can also be exposed to situations that put them at risk of sexual abuse. Commonly, children who experience sexual forms of abuse exhibit symptoms such as genital injury, infections, constipation, abdominal pains, chronic and severe urinary tract infections as well as other behavioural habits.
Effects of Child Abuse
In the same line of thought, neglect has its manifestations when it comes to child abuse. Such signs include not complying with care recommendation, stoppage to seek proper health care, and deprivation of essential food that results to poor child growth and development. Other forms of neglect that are great worry include the exposure of these infants to drugs and substance abuse and lack of a protective environment from environmental dangers. Moreover, inadequate supervision, abandonment, poor hygiene, and deprivation of education are forms of neglect. Therefore, there is a variety of consequences that child abuse has on the life of those affected. Among the health consequences are brain damage, bruises, disabilities, fracture, and damage. On reproductive health, it might result in reproductive health implications, unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and sexual dysfunctions. Similarly, it affects the psychological and behavioural life of individual children. These effects may include; drugs and substance abuse, depression, stress, anxiety, sleeping and eating disorders, hyperactivity, as well as reduced relationships and self-esteem. Other long-term health implications of child abuse include; irritable bowel syndrome, chronic lung diseases, infertility, liver diseases, and cancer. All these habits of ill-treatment result to potential or even actual harm to the children's survival, health, dignity and general development. It is, however, significant to understand that some researchers focus on defining child abuse by parental behaviours.
In conclusion, a lot needs to be done mostly to address this issue of child abuse. As mentioned previously, the abuse of children has physical, emotional, and health implications to those affected. The prevention of child abuse is almost internationally suggested as an essential policy. However, little has been done by the relevant bodies in ensuring that every right of children is well protected. There are quite some systems that can be developed to provide there is a reduction in the prevalence of child abuse at global levels. The first set of the system is one that deals with family support approaches.
According to Geeraert (2004), there exist various factors that increase the vulnerability of children to being abused. Among these factors are age, individual characteristics, the characteristics of the caregivers and families, personal and behavioral characteristics, the size of the family and household composition. Research has also proven that parents and guardians are at an elevated risk of mistreating their offspring. Also, the incidence of violence and hostility in the home increases the danger of children to be harmed or injured. Apart from the household factors, there are societal factors that increase the vulnerability of children to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. These community factors include poverty, social capital, more massive societal conflicts, and misunderstandings.
Question for further thought
Guardians, caretakers, and parents should be trained on proper parenting. This approach will help in improving family support for this vulnerable group of children. Similarly, programs for home visitation and other family support programmes can be put in place, with the aim of mobilizing the resources of the community directly to the homes. Similarly, there can be solutions that promote intensive family preservation services. Such a policy is meant to unite families and avoid them from being put in the form of alternative care. The government should also ensure some strict rules and policies work towards the protection of children services. The law is quite clear on the punishment of those found engaging in acts of child abuse. It will ensure that individuals shun this societal vice of child abuse. Information gathered in this paper can be used to improve the reader's insight concerning child abuse, and thus the responsibility of every member of the society in protecting the rights of children.
Daro, D., & Cohn-Donnelly, A. (2002). Child abuse prevention. APSAC handbook on child maltreatment, 431-448.
Geeraert, L., Van den Noortgate, W., Grietens, H., & Onghena, P. (2004). The effects of early prevention programs for families with young children at risk for physical child abuse and neglect: A meta-analysis. Child maltreatment, 9(3), 277-291.
Klevens, J., & Whitaker, D. J. (2007). Primary prevention of child physical abuse and neglect: Gaps and promising directions. Child maltreatment, 12(4), 364-377.
Lansford, J. E., Dodge, K. A., Pettit, G. S., Bates, J. E., Crozier, J., & Kaplow, J. (2002). A 12-year prospective study of the long-term effects of early child physical maltreatment on psychological, behavioral, and academic problems in adolescence. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 156(8), 824-830.
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