Child Abuse and Neglect Refers

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Updated: Dec 29, 2022
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It is estimated that from 1.2 to 3 million children in the United States have been victims of child abuse and neglect annually, representing 2% to 5% of American children from birth to age 18 (National Research Council).

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Child abuse and neglect occur during a child’s most formative years, affecting the child’s growth and development, as well as their social, emotional, and cognitive development. The effects of child abuse and neglect can last into adulthood.

By definition, child abuse is a physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, or exploitation of a child (National Research Council). Child neglect is a failure of anyone to provide adequate care for a child that results in imminent risk of serious harm (National Research Council). The national committee to prevent child abuse has identified five categories of maltreatment.

The NCPCA categorizes the causes of child maltreatment into three main areas: individual level factors (for instance, substance abuse, mental illness), family level factors (for instance, parenting, parental relationships), and community level factors (for instance, economic hardship). It is estimated that approximately 12% to 20% of children who experience maltreatment suffer one or more injuries (National Research Council). Over half the victims of child maltreatment are injured while they are being abused, with two-thirds of physical injuries occurring within the first year of abuse or neglect (National Research Council). The majority of child victims know the perpetrator; however, repeat child victimization is fairly common: about 9% to 13% of children who experience abuse will suffer a second incident within 1 year (National Research Council).

Abuse and neglect as a whole have been linked to 21% to 54% of child deaths (National Research Council). The most common cause of death is neglect, with the shaken baby syndrome (SBS) being the most common mechanism of death. Approximately 1,000 children die annually from injuries that result from abuse or neglect: two-thirds are younger than age 4, and 80% are younger than age 6 (National Research Council).

Most children that experience abuse or neglect live in two-parent white households (National Research Council). Females are overrepresented among the victims of child maltreatment, making up 71% to 83%, depending on the type of maltreatment (National Research Council).

Kid abuse and neglect are acts of violence or apathy toward a child. Understanding that children’s physical, mental, and sexual abuse constitutes abuse is critical. When an adult causes bodily harm to a child, this is referred to as “physical abuse.” Emotional abuse is defined in the United States as “mistreatment that has a detrimental influence on a child’s emotional and social development” (2016).

When a youngster is exposed to or exploited for sexual activity, this is referred to as sexual abuse. On the other hand, child neglect is described as maltreatment characterized by the failure to provide a child with necessary, age-appropriate care (Psychology Today). Every year, around 3 million incidences of child abuse and neglect are recorded, affecting nearly 5.5 million children, making child abuse a severe public health problem (American Academy of Pediatrics). Contrary to popular belief, most child abuse and neglect cases are perpetrated by the kid’s parents and other trusted adults.

A caregiver is responsible for 85-75 percent of killings involving children under 10, whereas an unknown person is responsible for just 3 to 4 percent (Meadows). This significant difference between caregivers and strangers points to the source of the issue but does not explain why. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the major causes of physical and psychological abuse of children in the home are parental emotions of isolation, stress, and frustration (2018). The primary reason for child abuse and neglect is stress, which may be triggered by family size, a lack of accessible services, a single parent, or a parent with a mental illness. Any of these variables may increase the likelihood of abuse or neglect.

These factors overwhelm anybody, yet parents are expected to prioritize their child’s needs and well-being. Furthermore, all of these factors are tied to money in some way. Financial hardship is one factor that contributes to child abuse (World Health Organization). Just thinking about your financial situation might be stressful. As a result, the kid is not to blame for the abuse; instead, the abuse results from external forces. Parents who abuse their children are often disqualified as parents with lack the resources to help their children through difficult times. Despair and stress may overwhelm them to the point of aggressive conduct.

Today, it is the role of school employees, social workers, and others who are not family members to prevent child abuse and neglect. The Child Welfare Information Gateway of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains public-facing child abuse prevention initiatives. However, this “primary preventative” technique of educating and raising public awareness is insufficient.

Experts can help, but they can only do so much since child abuse is mainly a family issue. Only 402,330 of the 683,000 child victims reported to child protective services got assistance, indicating that almost 60% of the children were still abused and neglected (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). Other preventive procedures exist but are not used until after the fact. Before there can be child abuse or neglect, the issue must be addressed and aimed at the parents.

After giving birth, parents should be required to complete a personality and financial questionnaire, and if they do not, the kid should be taken away. Are you unsure? Before graduating from high school, students must take a parenting course to prepare them for the challenges they will face as parents.

Works Cited

  1. Psychology Today. Sexual Abuse. Psychology Today Staff. (2018).
  2. National Research Council, Commission on Behavioral & Social Sciences & Education, Panel on Research on Child Abuse & Neglect. (1993). Understanding child abuse and neglect. National Academy Press.
  3. World Health Organization. Violence Against Children. (2016).
  4. Hemenway, David, and Sara J. Solnick. “The epidemiology of homicide perpetration by children.” Injury epidemiology 4.1 (2017): 1-6.
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Child Abuse And Neglect Refers. (2020, Jan 14). Retrieved from