What is Child abuse Essay? It is the physical or emotional abuse of a
child by a parent, guardian, or other person. Reports of child abuse,
including sexual abuse, beating, and murder, have climbed in the United
States and some authorities believe that the number of cases is largely
under reported. Child neglect is sometimes included in legal
definitions of child abuse to cover instances of malnutrition,
desertion, and inadequate care of a child’s safety. When reported,
child abuse cases are complicated by inadequate foster care services
and a legal system that has trouble accommodating the suggestible
nature of children, who are often developmentally unable to distinguish
fact from make-believe (Hay, 1996).
In 1993, the United States Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect
declared a child protection emergency.
Between 1985 and 1993, there
was a 50 percent increase in reported cases of child abuse. Three
million cases of child abuse are reported in the United States each
year. Treatment of the abuser has had only limited success and child
protection agencies are overwhelmed (Lewitt, 1997).
Recently, efforts have begun to focus on the primary prevention of
child abuse. Primary prevention of child abuse must be implemented on
many levels before it can be successful. Prevention plans on the
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
Prevention plans on the family level include helping
parents meet their basic needs, identifying problems of substance abuse
and spouse abuse, and educating parents about child behavior,
discipline, safety and development. Primary prevention is both the
prevention of disease before it occurs, and the reduction of its
incidence. In the case of child abuse, primary prevention is defined
as any intervention designed for the purpose of preventing child abuse
before it occurs (Hay, 1996).
Between 1985 and 1993, the number of cases of child abuse in the
United States increased by 50 percent. In 1993, three million children
in the United States were reported to have been abused. Thirty-five
percent of these cases of child abuse were confirmed.
Data from various
reporting sources, indicates that improved reporting could lead to a
significant increase in the number of cases of child abuse verified by
child protection agencies. The lack of verification does not indicate
that abuse did not occur, only that it could not be verified. The
facts are that each year 160,000 children suffer severe or life-
threatening injury and 1,000 to 2,000 children die as a result of abuse.
Of these deaths, 80 percent involve children younger than five years
of age, and 40 percent involve children younger than one year of age.
One out of every 20 murder victims is a child. Murder is the fourth
leading cause of death in children from one to four years of age and
the third leading cause of death in children from five to fourteen
years of age.
Neonaticide, which is the murder of a baby during the
first 24 hours of life, accounts for 45 percent of children killed
during the first year of life (Lewitt, 1997).
As I stated above, deaths from abuse are under reported and some
deaths classified as the result of accident and sudden infant death
syndrome might be reclassified as the result of child abuse if
comprehensive investigations were more routinely done. Most child
abuse takes place in the home and is started by persons are know to and
trusted by the child. Even though it has been widely publicized, abuse
in day-care and foster-care settings accounts for only a small number
of confirmed cases of child abuse. In 1996, only two percent of all
confirmed cases of child abuse occurred in these settings. Child abuse
if fifteen times more likely to occur in families where spousal abuse
Children are three times more likely to be abused by their
fathers than by their mothers. No differences have been found in the
incidence of child abuse in rural versus urban areas. Following are
the types .