Child abuse is the physical, or emotional mistreatment of children. Child neglect is where the responsible adult fails to provide adequately for various needs, including physical (failure to provide adequate food, clothing, or hygiene), emotional (failure to provide nurturing or affection), educational (failure to enroll a child in school), or medical (failure to medicate the child or take him or her to the doctor). Physical abuse is physical aggression directed at a child by an adult. It can involve striking, kicking, shoving, slapping, burning, bruising, pulling ears or hair, choking or shaking a child.
Oliver Twist is the textbook of abuse. The novel charts the progress of the eponymous hero, an orphaned boy who starts life in a workhouse, and after being part of the notorious Fagin's gang, is adopted by a middle class gent. But according to a consultant pediatrician at Sheffield Children's Hospital, Dickens describes many categories of child abuse, and identifies risk factors which modern research has now classified as hallmarks of abusing parents. Institutional abuse comes first, with Oliver's mother being attended by a drunk midwife and an uncaring doctor. Children in the workhouse to which Oliver is sent are neglected and practically starved, while being denied any shred of human love or affection. Oliver is locked in a small dark room after having the temerity to "ask for more" food. The workhouse children were also physically abused. Much of the first part of Oliver Twist challenges the organizations of charity run by the church and the government in Dickens’s time. The system Dickens describes was put into place by the Poor Law of 1834, which stipulated that the poor could only receive government assistance if they moved into government workhouses. Residents of those workhouses were essentially inmates whose rights were severely curtailed by a host of onerous regulations. Labor was required, families were almost always separated, and...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document