Child Abuse Essay 1
Melvin U. Estolero BSE 2-1
The Philippines has a young population in fact majority of its population are children below 18 years of age. Because of this, it has a vast reservoir of future and potential human resources that can contribute to its progress of our country; as Dr. Jose P. Rizal says, “Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.”
Children in the Philippines have their own rights and all institutions of the land – from family, school, church, community and others – are called upon to protect and promote the welfare of the Filipino child. However, the Philippines is constantly affected by global changes that somehow also affect the different families and their children. Some of these changes can bring progress and developments but these changes can also lead to maltreatment or abuse of children, who are among the most vulnerable members of a family, because of their young age and malleability. This maltreatment is popularly known as child abuse.
Child abuse is any injury that is intentionally inflicted on a child by a caregiver or during discipline. While the caregiver is usually an adult, most often the mother of the child, it can also include teenagers who are in the caregiving role, like a babysitter or a camp counselor. It is important to understand that child abuse must involve injury, whether physical or emotional, visible or not immediately visible. So the government do not recommend the use of corporal punishment due to the risk of emotional damage and accidental physical injury.
Child abuse may be categorized in specific cases: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or mental abuse, child neglect, child labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Physical abuse refers to inflicting physical harm by beating, hitting, punching, kicking, biting, burning or any other act, which causes physical pain. This type of abuse can be caused by over-discipline or punishment that is inappropriate for the child’s age and size. Sexual abuse includes activities by a parent or caretaker such as fondling a child’s genitals, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy, indecent exposure and exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials. Another form of child abuse is emotional or mental abuse which may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. Child neglect is the failure to provide for a child’s basic needs, whether physical, educational or emotional. This can include refusal of or delay in seeking health care, poor nutrition, abandonment, expulsion from home or not providing shelter and inadequate supervision. Child labor is the employment of children below 18 years of age who are fore to work for money or other consideration. Commercial sexual exploitation of children consists of practices that are demeaning, degrading and many times life threatening to children. It is a fundamental violation of the human rights of a child. There are four primary and interrelated forms of it which may include: child prostitution, child pornography, child trafficking, and child sex tourism.
Children who are subjected to maltreatment are at risk for a variety of physical and emotional problems, often depending on their age which may affect their progress and eventually their future. Physically, children can suffer from brain injury, including mental retardation, concussions, seizures, and death. Behaviorally and emotionally, children may develop a many problems, including depression, anxiety, trouble bonding with others, and issues with controlling their anger. Adults who were the victims of child abuse are at higher risk for a variety of emotional and physical problems, as well as for economic problems. The most common physical problems are neurological and musculoskeletal problems, followed by respiratory, heart, and gastrointestinal ailments. Compared to adults with no history of child-abuse victimization, those who were abused as children are at risk for achieving lower levels of education, employment, income, and assets. Those risks are apparently even greater for women compared to men. Adult survivors of abuse are also at higher risk of incarceration and for family violence occurring in their own homes.
Children who are victims of abuse often experience symptoms of stress in reaction to the abuse, in addition to symptoms that are specific to the kind of abuse they have suffered. The signs and symptoms of abuse often vary according to the age and developmental stage of the child. It is also important to understand that victims of child abuse are often abused in more than one way, so the child may demonstrate symptoms consistent with more than one kind of maltreatment. Examples of less specific signs and symptoms of child abuse include: a tendency to either avoid, overly please, or ingratiate themselves to the abuser, poor school performance, irritability/quickness to anger, crying more often and/or easily, anxiety or panic, frequent complaints of physical symptoms, like headaches and stomachaches, young kids may act younger than their age, spending more time alone, away from friends and family, becoming more clingy and more dependent on certain relationships, expressing thoughts about hurting him or herself or others, more risk-taking behaviors and showing less concern for their own safety.
The child who are neglected may lose weight or fail to gain weight appropriately for their age and their energy level and ability to learn will likely decrease. They may become withdrawn and show physical signs of malnutrition, like dry skin or hair or develop thinning hair. A child who is the victim of physical abuse may have repeated physical injuries and emergency room or other doctor's visits with or without adequate explanation. Emotionally abused children may make negative statements about themselves or others that mimic the abuser, like calling his or herself names or otherwise exhibiting pessimism or low self-esteem. The child who has been sexually abused may exhibit sexual knowledge or behaviors that are much older than is appropriate for their age. They may also exhibit inappropriately sexual behavior, resulting in their engaging in masturbating excessively or in front of others, as well as participating in inappropriate sexual play with children. Medically, children who are sexually abused may develop genital injuries or sexually transmitted diseases. Due to the increasing number of victims of child abuse our government developed programs and policies that address the needs of the victims before it will fully spread all throughout our country as the quotation says, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” Thus, the Philippine government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) have come up on a comprehensive and integrated approach to children’s development along the areas of survival, protection, development and participation. Part of this holistic approach is the prevention and early detection of child maltreatment as well as the recovery, rehabilitation and after-care for maltreated or abused children.
Some of these programs include Bantay Bata Program Initiated and led by the TV-radio network ABS-CBN, the program has an emergency response component through a 24 hour trunk line which the people can call for child-related concerns. Our government also passed the Republic Act 7610 “An Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination, mandates the DSWD and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in coordination with other government agencies and the private sector concerned, to come up with a comprehensive program to protect children against child prostitution and other sexual abuse, child trafficking, obscene publications and indecent shows or other acts of abuse and circumstances which endanger survival and normal development. RA 7610 was further amended by RA 9231 to provide for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor and afford stronger protection for working children. Another act that was made for their protection is Republic Act 9262, known as the Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act of 2004, seeks to prevent all forms of violence against women and children to secure their physical, sexual and psychological well-being, and has specific mandates for the DSWD. Under this law, violence against women and their children is considered a public crime. Temporary protection orders are issued to restrain the offender from causing further violence. The same is true for RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act which institutes policies to eliminate trafficking in persons, especially women and children.
Clearly, the prevention of child abuse is everyone’s duty. It involves the active participation and cooperation of the government, non-government organizations, the private and business sectors as well as the community and families. We should start in our home the proper care for a child and we should create an environment that is conducive to healthy, bright and productive children who will be the global citizens of tomorrow.