Introduction to the theme
Gelles and Strauss (1979, p. 15) assert that: "A person is more likely to be hit or killed in his or her home by another family member than anywhere else or by anyone else”. Why is there so much violence in modern man - or is it not a contemporary phenomenon? The term "family violence" refers to several types of violence, for example child abuse, incest, family murder, spouse abuse or battering. In this theme the focus will be on child abuse in particular. Family violence is often the culmination of various interactive socio-psychological factors combining to drive the potentially violent family member to the point where s/he acts violently. Only very rarely can any particular factor be singled out as the only etiological factor. The interaction among various factors plays an important part in creating the climate for violence. In such a climate, aggressive acts can frequently be the reaction to stressful life situations and demands, especially if support systems are lacking. Browne’s ecological model, derived from ecological psychology, offers a meaningful framework within which child abuse, which is a complex phenomenon, can be explained (consult the article by Browne, 1988). The ecological approach perceives child abuse as a function of individual, family, social and cultural factors. Different models may be used within this perspective to explain the interacting factors that cause and maintain child abuse. (A mere listing of these factors will not be regarded as satisfactory.)
Include the following points in your exploration of this theme The aim of this theme is to identify, explain and describe the interactions among the various factors that play a role in the etiology and maintenance of child abuse. Note that the ecosystemic theory differs from Brown’s (1988) ecological perspective. Construct a clear definition of family violence, with special reference to child abuse. Note that the parent, the child, the family and the community are in constant interaction with one another.
Predisposing factors are individual, familial, social and cultural characteristics/factors which are conducive to violent behaviour. Explain these various predisposing factors according to different theoretical perspectives, that is, the psychodynamic, social learning, cognitive, humanistic and systems perspectives. Precipitating factors include stressors which may evoke violent behaviour. Social support systems serve as buffers between predisposing and precipitating factors. Note the long term effects of child abuse on the victim.
QUESTION 2: Theme 3 – CHILD ABUSE
Nov 2011/June 2011/Nov 2012 Exam papers:
Question: Discuss the interactive nature of the relationship among the following factors that have the potential for child abuse: i) The factors that are in the community that can affect the family (discuss at least 5) ii) The factors that can start in the family that affect the community (discuss at least 10) Discuss the interactive nature of child abuse by examining factors that interplay between family and the wider community in relation to child abuse. Include the factors in the community that can affect the family and the factors that originate from within the family and then spill over into the community. (25 marks) June 2013 Paper
Question: According to Wiche (2001) child abuse is best understood from a multidimensional perspective which accounts for: a) Factors associated with the individual parents and individual children. b) Factors associated with the family as a system
c) Social/cultural factors impacting on the family unit
With the above statement in mind, discuss how the complexities of child abuse can be understood from a systemic perspective. The predisposing factors that they talk of are: Individual, Parent and society. The systemic perspective is also called the Ecological model and is made up of: Individual (parents and children), family,...
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