Every child is entitled to proper care irrespective of its gender, race or other differences. However, child abuse has remained a main subject of discussion because the number of neglected and abused children is increasing. Child abuse entails all aspects that involve physical and sexual abuse, neglect, as well as domestic violence (Annerbäck, Sahlqvist, Svedin, Wingren & Gustafsson, 2012). The question that many people ask is whether the abusers of the children are known. Although abusers can be any gender, the majority of them are males while the majority of the victims are females. This is the case, especially to the sexual abuse, a practice that is associated with unequal power relationships between men and women. Notably, cases of domestic violence have surpassed other causes of maltreatment, making it be detached and treated as a separate entity. According to the research conducted by Annerbäck and colleagues (2012), 20% of substantiated investigations concerned physical abuse, a factor that was identified as a principal cause of maltreatment. Sexual abuse constituted 3%, and neglect was the main category of the abuse and was comprised of 34% (Annerbäck et al., 2012). If the statistics are carefully evaluated, then, it will be discovered that there is a need for urgent measures against child abuse. This is because of the issue’s magnitude. In this context, this paper focuses on discussing the causes of child maltreatment and their effects on its growth. This is in addition to providing the strategies that can be used to reduce the number of cases that are associated with the issue.
Research Papers On Child Abuse
Child abuse has been linked to many causes, which include a combination of individual, relational, community and societal factors. Children, who are under four years, as well as those with special needs, are at high chances of being abused. According to Cech (2010), parents play critical roles in the development of children. This implies that they should understand their needs. In this view, the maltreatment can be attributed to parents’ lack of understanding to children’s needs, especially the development and parenting skills, the family’s history of maltreatment, substance abuse in the family, parental characteristics, and parental thoughts and behaviors that may support the abusive behavior (Cech, 2010). Children whose parents abuse drugs are more likely to be abused and neglected than their counterparts. It is also evident that children whose parents abuse drugs and do not receive due treatment are likely to foster care longer and to reenter foster care once more than they return home. From this perspective, it is explicit that abuse of drugs by parents can lead to addiction, something that is reflected among the children of addicts. Irresponsible parents neglect their children because they lack skills and knowledge to care for their kid’s safety (Cech, 2010). However, parents who are responsible will take care of their kids. This is done by listening to them, encouraging them, and linking them with people who can offer support. Poverty is another key factor that leads to abusive behavior. For example, some children do not attend school because they are supposed to look for ways of earning their livelihood. This is despite the fact that every child is entitled to an education. The majority of children drop out of schools because their parents cannot afford their school fees due to lack of employment. Others have parents with poor social connections, which affect the child’s development. It is critical to underscore that children from low socioeconomic status, encounter difficulties in all its aspects of life. Particular community attitudes, such as acceptance of the use of violence and force, physical punishment of kids, inequality between men and women, as well as the acceptance of parents’ ownership of the children and their right to treat their kids the way they want may significantly contribute to child maltreatment and neglect.
When a child is abused and neglected, it is expected that it will be adversely affected (Stoltenborgh, Bakermans-Kranenburg & van IJzendoorn, 2013). In fact, child abuse is one of the causes of the deleterious behaviors that are portrayed during adolescents (Stoltenborgh et al., 2013). Mostly, the symptoms of child abuse vary with age. In most cases, the child has problems of attaching itself to its age mates. It is worrying to note that kid maltreatment has resulted in increased sexual inappropriate behaviors as well as withdrawal characters, particularly in preschool children. Behaviors, such as anger, anxiety, conduct disorders, poor academic performance, sleep disorder, and substance abuse are associated with child abuse and neglect. Notably, behavioral problems that are common in adolescents increase the risk of admission to care and placement.
According to Sousa and colleagues (2011), various types of abuses may result in different harmful outcomes. Evidently, physical abuse is associated with later violent behaviors, depression, and suicidal ideation. This is in addition to mental problems. On the other hand, kid’s sexual abuse is linked to increased rates of mental health disorder. Children who have been sexually harassed may want to commit suicide because of the torture they may have undergone Sousa et al., 2011). This argument aligns with Annerbäck and colleagues (2012) findings, which revealed that there is an independent link between the physical abuse and suicidal cases. Sexual and physical maltreatment is linked to substance misuse in adolescence. It is imperative to state that an abused and neglected kid is impacted not only physically and mentally, but also cognitively. In fact, neglected kids tend to have more cognitive problems as well as emotional issues than kids that have been physically abused. This paper will be incomplete if it does not highlight that kids’ maltreatment extends to adult functioning. Behaviors, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and aggressiveness might result from childhood experiences.
It is crucial to note that child abuse impacts the kid, the family, community, and country. Cech (2010) argues that there are long-term economic costs of child abuse in the healthcare system. For example, some conditions, such as cancer are common to women who have experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse in childhood. Family violence adversely impacts kids because exposure to intimate partner violence id harmful to children even in the absence of the child’s physical or sexual abuse.
Understanding the causes and the effects of child abuse and neglect imply that it is necessary to recommend strategies for reducing the increased rate of the child abuse, which affects child and youth care. The protective factors are found at different levels (Kagan, 2014). Due to the significant role associated with the family, it is supposed to offer a supportive environment and social networks to improve growth and development of children. In this context, parents should have adaptive nurturing parenting skills and stable relationships. This implies that emotional support, as well as access to high-quality healthcare, should be provided (Kagan, 2014). Additionally, the household rules and child monitoring should be promoted. This is in addition to the provision of adequate housing. Concerning the communities, it is vital for them to have a culture that promoted equality in all genders to reduce gender violence, which is a leading cause of child abuse and neglect (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2015). Moreover, governments should take their positions and ensure the rights of kids are upheld. For example, it should enact laws that protect children and define penalties for child abuse and neglect cases. The government should provide employment opportunities for parents because poverty has been recognized as among the principal causes of child abuse (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2015). Children who come from poor background do not access education and other social amenities, yet, they are entitled to them.
In conclusion, child abuse and neglect are among the contemporary issues in the child and youth care that significantly influence their growth and development. It is explicit that there are diverse causes as well as adverse effects on the kids and other members of the society. Because of the magnitude of the contemporary issue, it is crucial to develop comprehensive strategies for dealing with it that involve all the stakeholders. The human rights advocates should not be left behind because child abuse and neglect are violations of basic human rights. If the strategies suggested are implemented, then, factors that cause the problem will be effectively addressed.
- Annerbäck, E. M., Sahlqvist, L., Svedin, C. G., Wingren, G., & Gustafsson, P. A. (2012). Child physical abuse and concurrence of other types of child abuse in Sweden—Associations With health and risk behaviors. Child abuse & neglect, 36(7), 585-595.
- Cech, M., (2010). Intervention with children and youth in Canada. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Publishers.
- Child Welfare Information Gateway, (2015). Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect. Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/
- Kagan, R. (2014). Rebuilding Attachments with Traumatized children: Healing from Losses, Violence, abuse, and neglect. London, United Kingdom: Routledge.
- Sousa, C., Herrenkohl, T. I., Moylan, C. A., Tajima, E. A., Klika, J. B., Herrenkohl, R. C., & Russo, M. J. (2011). Longitudinal study on the effects of child abuse and children’s exposure to domestic violence, parent-child attachments, and antisocial behavior in adolescence. Journal of interpersonal violence, 26(1), 111-136.
- Stoltenberg, M., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2013). The neglect of child neglects: a meta-analytic review of the prevalence of neglect. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 48(3), 345-355.