Child Abuse Research Paper

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A 2004 study done by the US Department of Health and Human Services stated that just over four children die every day as a result of child abuse. That means that every six hours, a child dies because of some form of maltreatment. Child abuse is a serious problem facing families in the United States. To prevent child abuse, United States citizens need to be well informed of all aspects of child abuse.

To solve the very serious issue of child abuse, the definition needs to be clear so that United States citizens can help. The four main types of child abuse are psychological, neglect, physical and sexual. The most frequently encountered type of abuse is neglect. In 2004, 62.8 of abused children in the United States were neglected, according to Prevent Child Abuse New York.

Child neglect is when a parent or guardian fails to give the child everything they need. Most cases of child neglect involve inadequate nurturing and affection from the parent to the child. Jill Goldman and Marsha K. Salus, 2006, define neglect as "paying little to no attention to the child, refusal or delay in medical or psychological care, the insufficient provision of food, clothes and hygienic care and not providing proper education". Neglect can often result in psychological/mental diseases, the most common being post-traumatic stress and depression. Moreover, children who did not receive the loving care and support from their parents have a hard time having healthy relationships. If they have never experienced a healthy relationship, they are not able to have one, and they cannot communicate normally. Neglect often leads to other types of abuse, mostly psychological.

Psychological, or emotional, abuse refers to an incident or a behavior of the parent or guardian that conveys to the child that they are worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered or only of value in meeting another person's requests. A Coordinated Response to Child Abuse and Neglect: The Foundation for Practice, by Jill Goldman and Marsha K. Salus, 2006, "There are six categories of psychological maltreatment: Spurning, terrorizing, isolating, exploiting, denying emotional responsiveness, and mental health, medical and educational neglect". Spurning refers to the caretaker belittling, rejecting or ridiculing the child in a hostile manner. Terrorizing consists of threatening violence against the child or placing the child in a recognizably dangerous situation. Included in the isolating category are placing unreasonable limitations on the child's freedom and restricting the child from social interactions. Exploiting would contain modeling inappropriate behavior such as criminal activity, encouraging prostitution and permitting substance abuse. Ignoring the child's attempts to interact and failing to express affection would fall under the denying emotional responsiveness category. The last category of psychological abuse, mental health, medical and educational neglect, encompasses the refusal of allowing or failing to provide treatment for services for serious educational needs. Usually, at least one of the six forms of psychological abuse is present when one of the other categories of child abuse is found.

The third type of child abuse is physical maltreatment. Physical abuse is when a guardian physically hurts the child on purpose. Common methods of physical abuse according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 2003, include punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting with a hand, stick, strap or other object and burning. One of the most common forms of physical abuse is the Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), and it happens when a baby or toddler is shaken so violently, that it causes damage to the brain. The injuries that could occur are brain damage, blindness, seizures, speech and learning disorders including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, damage to the neck, vertebrae and spinal cord resulting in severe motor...
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