Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving nearly 6 million children. The United States has the worst record in the industrialized nation losing five children every day due to abuse-related deaths. In fact every thirteen seconds another child is abused in the United States. The fact that so many children are being abused and may be killed by this abuse is significant, but it is also important to realize that there are detrimental effects that the abuse may have on a child ten or twelve years later. The abuse that a child sustains may affect people in very different ways, but child abuse has never and will never have a positive effect on a child later in life. There are many different types of child abuse, physical, neglect, emotional and sexual. They all carry effects with them, harming the child in some way and also following the child up to their adulthood making living even harder. Relationships with others become harder and trust is diminished. Research has shown that a range of psychiatric symptoms and disorders in child- and adulthood are associated with early trauma, including depression, post- traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, substance use, suicide, self- mutilation, somatization, sexual behavior problems, dissociative disorders, and learning disorders. Child abuse is a term impacted by copious multidimensional and interactive factors that relate to its origins and effects upon a child's developing capacities and which may act as a catalyst to broader, long-term implications for adulthood. Such maltreatment may be a sexual, physical, emotional or neglectful nature, each form holding a proportion of shared and abuse-specific psychological considerations (Mash & Wolfe, 2005). Certainly in terms of the effects impairments of abuse, developmental factors have been identified across all classifications of child abuse, leading to a comparably greater risk of emotional, mental health problems in adult life within the general population (Mullen, Anderson, Romans, & Herbison, 1994). Types of Abuse
Neglect was the most common form of abuse accounting for 52% of all cases. Physical abuse ranked second and occurred in 26% of cases. Sexual abuse cases were the third most common, representing 7% of all cases. Emotional abuse cases represented 4% of all reports, and 11% of cases fell into a miscellaneous “other” category. Types of cases that fell into the “other” category included multiple types of maltreatment, medical and educational neglect, substance and/or alcohol abuse or dependency, lack of supervision, threat of harm, “bizarre” discipline and imminent risk (Wang and Daro, 1997). Relationship of the Victim to the Perpetrator in Substantiated Cases of Abuse The overwhelming majority of perpetrators of violence against children were the parents of the children themselves, constituting 81% of the total population of child abuse/neglect perpetrators. Other relatives of the child made up 10.6 % of the total perpetrator population. Only 8.4% of perpetrators, therefore, were not related to the child they abuse/neglect in any way. (CWLA, 1997) Among substantiated cases of maltreated children, 65% were victimized by a female and 54% by a male. Males were more likely to physically abuse children than females, 67% versus 40%, respectively. Males were more likely to physically abuse children than females, 67% versus 40%, respectively. Sexual abuse was the category most strongly linked with males: 89% of sexually abused children were abused by males and 12% by females (Abbreviated NIS-3). According to NIS-3, girls were sexually abused three times more often than boys, while boys had a 24% greater risk of serious injury from abuse and were 18% more likely to be emotionally neglected. Coming from a single-parent household was a grave risk factor for child maltreatment....
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