Child Abuse and Neglect

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A LITERATURE REVIEW
Presented to the Department of Criminal Justice
California State University, Long Beach

In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Bachelor of Science

By Kirsten Anderson
California State University, Long Beach
March 9, 2014
Every year around four million children in the United States experience a traumatic event, including the abuse and neglect of a child, also known as child maltreatment, (Schwartz & Perry, 1994). In 2005, 3.3 million referrals were made that year to child protective agencies for suspected child maltreatment, (Bentley & Widom, 2009). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines child maltreatment as “any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child,” (Leeb, Paulozzi, Melanson, Simon, & Arias, 2008). Children, who suffer from child abuse or neglect, suffer from many short and long-term consequences, (Burgess, Regehr, Roberts, 2013). There are four types of child maltreatment: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, and neglect (Burgess, Regehr, Roberts, 2013). Although any type of maltreatment can be found alone, they often occur in combination together; psychological maltreatment is almost always existent when other types are classified, (Burgess, Regehr, &Roberts, 2013). The effects or consequences of child maltreatment affect every child differently depending on the type of abuse or neglect, (Burgess, Regehr, & Roberts, 2013). According to (Cicchetti, 2004), “mental illness, delinquency, and criminal behavior increase each time a child is mistreated.” The offender that is abusing or neglecting a children is a lot of the time a family member or someone who is around the child a lot of the time, such as a babysitter or teacher; very rarely the offender is a stranger, (Burgess, Regehr, & Roberts, 2013). Child maltreatment can occur in a child’s home, in school, or any other places in which the child has interaction with, (Burgess, Regehr, & Roberts, 2013). The effects of child abuse and neglect are very detrimental on a person and the effects can last anywhere from a short period of time to a lifetime. The effects child abuse and neglect have on a child may include from violent behavior, physical injuries, guilt, low self-esteem, poor social skills, substance abuse problems, mental health problems, and much more. In this paper I am going to talk about the negative effects child abuse and neglect have on people and how they can overcome it and leave their detrimental past behind them.

Of course there are immediate consequences to physical abuse like bruising, broken bones, or burns, but physical abuse can be a lot more scarring than what one can externally. Child abuse and neglect can lead to severe brain damage, paralyzation, obesity, cancer, high blood pressure or cholesterol, and other damage, (Felitti, 1998). A lot of the time parent’s “punish” their child by leaving a mark usually hidden by their everyday clothing such as on their back. Developing an eating disorder or self-harming oneself is two of many emotional and behavioral effects physical abuse may have on a person, (Kiran, 2011). Child abuse or neglect many times even lead to the killing of a child. In 2011, 1,570 children died from child abuse or neglect in the United States, (USDHHS, 2011).

Adults who have suffered from child abuse often times lack intimacy, or sexual closeness, with their significant other, because to them it reminds their terrifying past and not what sexual togetherness is supposed to represent, (James, 1994). Because of his or her past a child abuse survivor is not able to get sexually close with another person a lot of times due to Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When something really traumatic happens in a person’s life, a lot of the time that person develops an anxiety disorder, PTSD. An effective...
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