Child abuse Essay has been defined as, any intentional act that results in physical or emotional harm to a child. This could cover any behavior from assault, to neglect, to molestation. (Encarta 1) In 1995, a study was done by the National Center on Child Abuse & Neglect. They concluded that in the United States alone, approximately 3 million children are victims of some sort of maltreatment each year. This means that an unimaginable amount of our countys adolescents are being seriously mistreated, and the numbers are rising steadily.
While the specific definition of child abuse may differ from state to state, the effects unfortunately do not. Physical maltreatment, neglect and sexual abuse create immediate problems for children, as well as long term damage. Some common effects on sufferers of abuse include, a lowered sense of self worth, an inability to relate to others, short attention span and often they develop learning disorders. More detrimental cases can develop severe depression or anxiety, schizophrenia, violent behavior and an increased risk of suicide. (Encarta 3) In some cases, abused children learn how to cope with their experiences and grow to healthy adults, but most are not
that lucky. Most victims of abuse are forced to deal with the results for their entire lives.
Physical abuse is one of the most common forms of child maltreatment. It can begin as soon as conception and includes any deliberate act of violence that is meant to injure or kill a child. (Encarta 1) Over 500,000 children are physically harmed each year. In 1991, 25% of American adults admitted to being beat by a parent or a caretaker in their youth and unfortunately the numbers have increased since then. (Shepard 305) Some common physical injuries include bruises, scrapes, burns, brain damage, and even death. (Encarta 3) In fact, over 2000 kids under the age of 18 are killed by a caretaker each year in this country alone.
While the bodily harm that abused children suffer is unimaginable, the emotional damage can often be much worse. Maltreatment has been proven to be a major cause of dissociative disorders. For example, many times abuse victims take on multiple personalities to hide from their pain. (Morris 451) Also, in a study done by the National Institute of Justice, it was concluded that childhood abuse increases the likelihood of arrest for juvenile crime by 53%. (Breckenridge B3) Many of these children also follow the Intergenerational Transmission of Violence, where they learn violent behavior as a child and grow up to be abusive parents as well. In fact, about 30% of abused kids follow the same violent pattern with their children.
(Encarta 2) In the 1960s, it was thought that fewer than 1000 children were physically harmed per year. It actually wasnt until the 1990s when the matter of domestic violence came into the spotlight, and now it is known to be over 1000 times that amount. (Melton vii) Fortunately there are now more havens from abuse where adolescence can be counseled and educated about the wrongs they suffered. One of these centers, the Laurelwood Child Center in Cleveland, Ohio focuses on the recovery of child abuse victims. Although many of the patients at the center do grow up to better themselves, a good amount do not respond as well. In an article in The Plain Dealer, Kay McKenzie, the head psychiatrist at Laurelwood said, There are children so badly broken in their first years that they just cant be fixed.
Unfortunately, that statement has often been proven correct.
Above all other forms of child abuse, neglect is by far the most prevalent. In fact, out of the 3 million children abused in this country every year, 52% of them suffer some form of neglect, whether it is physical or emotional. (Encarta 1) Physical neglect is defined as the failure to provide adequate food, clothes, shelter or medical care. In addition, poor supervision and a consistent failure to protect the child fall under physical neglect. On the other hand, emotional neglect involves the failure to meet a childs need for affection and comfort.
For instance, behaving in a cold distant manner, encouraging the use
of alcohol and drugs, and failing to meet .