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Theoretical Models of Child Abuse

P2. In spite of the large number of theories that were researched into why children are abused, there is no single theory that can be applied to all cases of abuse and neglect. Each situation is different and occurs for different reasons and therefore need to be viewed individually. (Squire, G 2007 pg.178) There are 4 types of theoretical models with child abuse: medical, sociological, psychological and feminist. So each case of child abuse that has been reported would have fall into one of these types of child abuse, even if they were mild cases or serious cases, there is always an underlying problem. These models are different theories on why abuse occurs on children.

Medical Model

Medical Abuse is when child abuse is seen as a disease and an illness. That the abusers may have mental problems and they don’t actually mean harm to the child, their condition that they have over powers their lifestyle. According to a paediatrician, Kempe had made and diagnosed medical abuse to children as a ‘battered-child syndrome’. Battered-child syndrome is a clinical condition in young children who have received serious physical abuse. It is a frequent to have injuries occur on the child or even death. ‘Evidence of a child suffering from this condition, has fractures, subdural hematoma, failure to thrive, soft tissue swellings or skin bruising.’ (Accessed 20/10/11 http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/181/1/17.abstract). So this meant that people saw child abuse as a disease. Abusers have probably been abused in their earlier life and wanted people to see and feel what they went though at that age. If it is parents who abuse their child they have probably suffered from poor attachment and experiences in their own child hood. So harming their own child probably is flash backs for them, taking their anger and feelings out on someone else. Kempe believed that there were 4 factors of abuse: the parents have either been abused themselves or have abused before, the child is ‘unlovable’ or ‘disappointing’, there is a crisis and there is no support when a problem occurs.

Sociological Model

This theory looks at the changing patterns within the society. These changing patterns could be the reason why child abuse occurs. Some reasons why child abuse could occur is that a parent has just lost their job, poverty, poor housing, and health issues. An example of this is when a child may be abused due to a family member just being sacked from their job; that this putting strain upon the family, causing a family member to lash out at the children. Another example of a problem that the society may have effect on the family is if a big family is living in a small housing accommodation. This will cause stress and have problems within the family that may allow child abuse to occur. So being brought up in a deprive background you are more likely to suffer emotional abuse or physical abuse, due to not having a strong family bonding or structure. Specific events can trigger different effects, divorce, marriage and a new family member.

Psychological Model
This model links abuse to the abuser’s background. ‘It includes the abuser’s own upbringing, the role models the abuser had.’(Green S, 2007 pg.251). So if the abuser’s parent’s grew up in a bad environment, this could of have influenced them to be a bad person. Due to they didn’t have the attitude to be caring parents, as they weren’t cared for properly. This model looks also at the dynamics within the family structure. If the family structure becomes weakened in any way the family begins not to work together as a team and arguments start to happen. This can be a time when abuse on children can happen if the parents full out. Family Dysfunction means, a family in which conflict, misbehaviour and often abuse on the part of individual members occur. (Accessed 22/10/2011 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysfunctional_family) This means that abuse may take place if a...
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