The Effects on Child Abuse

The Effects on Child Abuse in Children Like many children, Pete thought physical abuse he suffered was normal from his mother. In the article, Pete’s story, Pete explains his tragic memories from his mother, My earliest memory of my mum’s temper is from when I was a toddler, and she was throwing books down the stairs at my dad. I was so young at the time that I thought it was a game. When my dad moved out, when I was 5 or 6, her aggression turned on me. Over the years, my mum kicked and beat me, throttled me, threw me down the stairs and pushed me into a scalding hot bath. She once held my head under water, and another time she shoved a full bar of soap in my mouth. There are too many incidents to recount. Even though she could be nasty, she could be loving too. It was just that you’d never know when she was going to flip, get angry and start screaming at you. Sometimes after a flare-up, she’d be apologetic; other times she’d accuse me of starting it. Sometimes she’d pretend it never happened (Irimia R, Gottschling M, 2016). Child abuse can cause trauma to a child’s health, mental health, development, and dignity.

Child abuse is one of the significant issues which have driven an immense amount of attention in the Pacific Countries. Numerous organizations have been established with its key ambition of handling child abuse cases and creating awareness on this issue. The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA, 2010, p.6), defines child abuse and neglect as; Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.’ Child abuse is commonly classified into four categories: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and negligence.

In this essay, the problem of child abuse will be discussed with context to the reasons why child abuse is a heightened issue, arguments in contradiction of child abuse using the principal of deontology, and finally, ways that can help to decrease the number of child abuse cases utilizing two approaches to governance. Millions of children every year across the world become victims of child abuse. In a small Pacific island country like Fiji, the child abuse cases that have been reported to authorities is an alarming number. In the year 2016, a total of 1077 child abuse and neglect cases were disclosed to Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation in Fiji (Vakasukawaqa, 2017, p.17).

And in the year after, a total of 256 cases of child neglect was recorded by the Child Services Unit from January to November and in the same year, the Child Welfare Decree Statistics revealed a total of 168 cases of child physical abuse and 153 cases of child sexual abuse in Fiji (Boila, 2018). Other Pacific island countries are also facing the same problem. The Solomon Islands Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs carried out research work and concluded that the country was no longer a safe place for children (Radio New Zealand, 2017). Like the articles mentioned above, there are thousands more currently on the internet with numbers more horrifying than the ones found in Fiji and other Pacific Island countries with regards to child maltreatment.

Therefore, to face the issue, the causes of child abuse need to be acknowledged. The former Minister for Children, Ms. Rosy Akbar, discussed several cases of child abuse which include; a change in the social landscape which is technology, failed relationships, domestic violence, virtual romancing, drug trafficking, sex trades, child labor, and pornography’ (Chandra, 2015, p.22). Another reason as to why child abuse is on the rise in Fiji is because of parenting problems. Because some parents are young and do not have experience very much, they are the ones that are most likely neglect the child’s needs. Abusive parents are also a leading aspect to the rise in child abuse. These parents are the ones that are unable to control their anger.

As a result, they bring out their frustrations on their children leading to physical child abuse. And lastly, some parents often interchange discipline with abuse and support their doing with the quotation from the bible Spare the rod and Spoil the child, without understanding the full context of the phrase (Delaibatiki, 2017, p.42). All categories of child abuse without regard to the reasons, affect the child one way or the other. According to Sunila Karan, child abuse does not harm the victim, but instead, the child may experience problems such as anxiety, depression, aggression, low self-esteem, acting-out, withdrawal, difficulty trusting people, and school learning disabilities (Karan, 2010, p.29).

Many at times children are noticed with bruises and cuts and all these problems identified above yet most of the times no investigation are taken. For instance, a case where a school teacher assumed that the child is being abused at home, however due to no physical evidence the teacher does not take any action. If this situation were to be looked at through a deontological point of view, the right move would have been to report the matter because it isn’t just morally wrong, it also violates the laws. Immanuel Kant came up with a rule called the Categorical Imperative which states that act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law’ (Kant, 1994, p.30). If this theory is applied here and all children are abused at home, and no one is to report the matter, the world would be full of anger and violence. This will cause chaos in the world because violence would be all around and no one to bat an eye, making this situation unethical.

Therefore, according to Kant, the right action would be to report the matter to the authorities because not doing so is a wrong and immoral decision. People often only seem to associate child abuse with abusive parents. However, there is another major factor why child abuse is unethical, and most of the time people seem to overlook this. This is the cost incurred when the government and other organization dealing with child abuse are involved. These costs are often for investigation purposes, foster care, medical and health treatment costs, and other costs. Not only are countries paying millions of dollars for this, but the costs also continue to grow over time. Pollett and Gurr researched UNICEF on the costs of child abuse in Vanuatu and the total cost associated with child abuse was between $293.8 and $425.4 million Vt (Pollett & Gurr, 2009, p.1).

This dilemma could be resolved if we apply the principal of non-consequentialism. Non-consequentialism is a principal of deontology which states that an action is ethical if the duties are performed regardless of the consequences of the action. Concerning child abuse, many experts have been put on duty to protect the child, to keep them with the family, to improve family relationships and to inform the competent authorities of the case. If all these professionals are doing their required share along with the parents and children, the number of child abuse cases will most definitely decrease. This will be achieved if the non-consequentialism theory is strictly applied and all the members are doing their right share of work accordingly.

In conclusion, this universal problem has many types with its different characteristics. Some of the major cause or the factors that cause the rise in child abuse in Fiji are family problems, abusive parents, and many more as discussed in the essay. Child abuse comes with its own cost such as physiological costs, economic costs, and there are several others. This matter can be disciplined if principles of good governance such as self-governance and family governance are followed. The question that remains unanswered is if children are considered the most valuable resource within any community, why are they the ones that are most abused.

References

Boila, S. (2018). More than 250 cases of child neglect recorded for 2017. [Internet]. Suva, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation. Available at: http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/58749/more-than-250-cases-of-child-neglect-recorded-for-2017 [Accessed on 16th April 2018]. Chandra, T. 2015. Rise in child abuse cases. The Fiji Times. 20th April 2015. p.22. Delaibatiki, N. 2017. We Cannot Remain Silent and Allow Child Abuse to Flourish. Fiji Sun. 07th February 2017. P.42. Deloitte United Kingdom. (2018). What is family governance’ | Deloitte UK. [Online] Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/private-markets/articles/family-governance.html [Accessed 16th April 2018]. Kant, I. (1994). Ethical Philosophy. Hackett Publishing Karan, S. 2010. Child-Abuse. Fiji Sun. 20th November 2010. p.29. Pollett, J. & Gurr, S. (2009). Lifting the financial burden of child abuse: A Vanuatu Case Study. p.1. Radio New Zealand. (2017). Solomon Islands no longer safe for children – report. [Online]. Available at: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/322910/solomon-islands-no-longer-safe-for-children-report [Accessed on 16th April 2018]. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. (2010) s.1(3) United States: Department of Health and Human Services. Vakasukawaqa, A. 2017. 1077 Child Abuse, Neglect Cases Reported in 2016: Vuniwaqa. Fiji Sun. 9th March 2017. p.17.

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