Within Australia, there are many concerns for social work, a major and current one being the maltreatment of children. In March this year it was reported that ‘The number of child abuse and neglect victims rose 20 per cent last year, reversing a long-term decline’ (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2013). There are many problems which stem from the maltreatment of children which call concerns for social workers, as their work is needed to overcome this problem and enhance individual wellbeing, all carried out through the different levels of interventions and methods open to social workers to overcome this issue. In regards to this issue, there are different types of individuals, such as people of different race or class, that might view or experience child abuse and neglect in diverse ways; where I will be raising my values and views of the maltreatment of children. There are many variations of child abuse and neglect, all of which, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, reﬂect psychological and physical damage objected ‘to the child brought upon by the abusive and neglectful behaviour of others, or the incompetence of others to protect a child from such harm and destruction’ (James, M 2013). These different types of child maltreatment are: physical abuse, emotional abuse or neglect, sexual abuse and physical neglect.
The issue of physical abuse towards a child involves the use of non-accidental physical force that leads to harm to the child; where intent of severity of damage does not have to be present. These physical injures might include bruising, fractures, cuts and burns; and the cause being kicking, punching, biting or other physical abuse. Emotional abuse refers to the parents lack of love and proper direction, inability to accept a child with his potentialities as well as his limitations and failure to encourage the child’s normal development by assurance of love and acceptance (U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare 1976 p. 9); Conversely, not caring about child’s success or failure and neglecting to praise or guide child into correct behaviours, and rejecting, isolating or corrupting. Sexual abuse is when an ‘adult or older person uses his or her power over a child to involve the child in sexual activity’ (James, M 2013) . And lastly, the issue of neglect, involves the failure to provide a child’s basic needs, such as ‘safe, clean, adequate housing, food or health care’, impairing a child’s physical, intellectual and emotional development (Price - Robertson, R 2012 ).
From the physical and emotional maltreatment of children stem a number of problems for the family where abuse and neglect is occurring. One of the problems which derives from the issue of child maltreatment is the physical health consequences of the child. These consequences can range from minor physical health consequences such as bruises and cuts, which could also lead to psychological damage, to much more dangerous and disturbing ramiﬁcations of physical abuse such as broken bones, hemorrhage and shaken baby syndrome. Much of the severe physical abuse may also lead to impaired brain development or a brain fails to form properly, where in later years they can not form or detect language, attain high academic standing or cognitive thinking. Many studies also show that individuals who had been abused as children, are more likely to be diagnosed with poor physical health such as ‘arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure and allergies’ (Child Welfare Information Gateway 2008).
Another problem which arises from child abuse and neglect is the many psychological consequences effecting the victim of child maltreatment as children and when the get older. In all cases of abuse and neglect, children persist to be damaged until treated by social workers or other therapeutic measures. Many of the psychological consequences are; depression, anxiety, emotional, environmental and physical withdrawal and neglect, poor...
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