Child abuse, the physical and/or emotional abuse of a child by a parent, guardian, or other person, is a major problem in homes across the United States. Child abuse, including sexual abuse, beating, and murder have increased in the U.S. and it is believed that a number of cases go unreported. Within child abuse comes neglect, which covers malnutrition, desertion, and inadequate care for a child.
Efforts have increased on the primary prevention of child abuse. This must be started on many different levels before it can be successful. Prevention plans on a social level include increasing the economic self-sufficiency of families, discouraging corporal punishment and other forms of violence, making health care more accessible and affordable, expanding and improving coordination of social services, improving the identification and treatment of psychological problems, and alcohol and drug abuse, providing more affordable child care and preventing the birth of unwanted children. Prevention plans on the family level include helping parents meet their basic needs, identifying problems of substance abuse and spousal abuse, and educating parents about child behavior, discipline, safety, and development. Primary prevention is to prevent the disease before it happens and reduce the chances of child abuse or negligence from happening.
Between 1985 and today child abuse cases have increased by more than fifty percent. More than thirty-five percent of which were confirmed. Each year one hundred and sixty thousand children are abused severely, even to life threatening extents. One thousand to two thousand children are killed resulting form child abuse. One of twenty murder victims is a child. Murder is the fourth leading cause of death in children from ages five to fourteen. The murder of a baby within the first twenty-four hours of life, Neonaticide, accounts for forty-five percent of children’s death.
Most child abuse occurs in the home and is started by someone who is known and trusted by the child. Abuse in day care center and foster car settings are only a small part of confirmed cases, but are more widely publicized. In a household where spousal abuse takes place, child abuse is fifteen percent more likely to occur also. Children are three times more likely to be abused by father rather than mothers. Four major types of child abuse are neglect, which is fifty-four percent of reported cases of child abuse, physical abuse, which makes up twenty-five percent, sexual abuse, which is eleven percent and emotional which is three percent. Other ways of abuse make up another seven percent.
There are many long-term consequences that children endure along with the physical and mental cruelty. Children may have to endure delays in reaching developmental milestones, refusal to attend school and separation anxiety disorders. Other consequences include an increased likelihood of future substance abuse, aggressive behaviors, high-risk health behaviors, criminal activity, depressive and affective disorders, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, schizophrenia and abuse of their own children and spouse. For a proper development of the brain, the child should be shown a loving, caring, and stimulating environment during the first three years of the child’s life.
There are four major levels that can influence child abuse. One being the individual level, two the family, three the community, and four the society. The following factors are believed to be factors contributing to the development of physical and emotional abuse and neglect of children. Community/society parent related, high crime rate personal history of physical or sexual abuse, lack of or few social services, teenage parents, high poverty rate of parenting skills, high unemployment, rate of unwanted pregnancy, emotional immaturity, child-related poor coping skills, prematurely, low self-esteem, low birth weight, personal history of substance, handicap, history of known child abuse, domestic violence, and lack of preparation for extreme stress of having a new infant.
Large argument by many people is that our society does now really value its children. The argument is made on such things as the fact that one out of four children live in poverty, and many children do not have any kind of health insurance. Also the high levels of violence in society are thought to add to child abuse. Seventy-five of violence in the U.S. is domestic violence. Also contributing to high violence rates is the exposure to