It is known to us that violence is quite common in our society and violence takes place in various different forms. As a result, many people have become the victims of violence because they have been hurt by violence either physically or psychologically. And child abuse is argued to be an increasingly severe problem nowadays and a vast majority of children have complained that they have suffered a lot from child abuse. Therefore this paper would like to explore the problem of child abuse in the society so as to help propose a series of initiatives or social practices that can be used to combat the child abuse in the end. It is hoped that this research can help give some insightful suggestions as for how to better deal with the issue of child abuse in approaching days.
Child Abuse Problem and Solutions
The specific case example concerning child abuse will be listed as below: Jessica, a seven year old girl, lives with her dad. She is late into school this morning. When asked why, she states that her dad has been acting strangely and that he’s been harming with a kitchen knife, and making threats to kill her. She said this has been going on for some time and she feels hopeless and horrible. Her dad has frequently said to her that his life would be better if he didn’t have her (Cross & Simmons. 2008). It is obvious that this case has involved the example of child abuse so that this paper would like to research more about it.
According to the World Health Organization, violence is defined as the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development, or deprivation. It is obvious that such definition only provides a general idea about violence while it does not directly talk about child abuse. As a matter of fact, child abuse refers to the physical maltreatment or sexual molestation of a child. To put it more specifically, child abuse is actually doing or failing to do something that causes harm or risk of harm to a child (Berger & Waldfogel. 2011). Berger & Waldfogel (2011) put forward that one in three boys and one in four girls are physically abused before they reach the age 18. And it is added that one in six boys and one in four girls are sexually abused before they are 18. According to this, it is not hard to find that the incidence of child abuse is really high and the consequences of such issue is far too horrible to be imagined. What’s worse, each and every child can become the target of child abuse and no ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic demographic can be immune to child abuse, which can well indicate that child abuse has been a global issue.
Moreover, Stoltenborgh et, al. (2011) have stated that there are altogether four kinds of abuse and they are respectively physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Among these four kinds of abuse, it seems that child physical abuse tends to be the most visible. However, other three kinds of abuse can as well lead to deep and lasting emotional scars to the children. In this sense, it is apparent that all these four kinds of abuse should be paid attention to without exception. Detailed speaking, the physical abuse is the physical injury that cause harm to a child or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child. And as for the sexual abuse, it is the sexual conduct that is detrimental to a child’s emotional, mental or physical welfare, including aggravated sexual assault, conduct that makes up the offence of indecency with a child, sexual assault; the inability to make an effort to get a child rid of sexual conduct; encouraging or forcing the child to involve in sexual conduct; as well as causing, engaging in, encouraging or enabling the depicting, filming, or photographing of the child. When it comes to the emotional abuse, it refers to inflicting emotional or mental injury to a child or letting the child to be in a situation where the child may sustain an emotional or mental injury that cause a material and observable impairment of the child’s development, growth or psychological functioning. And then as to neglect, it means that children are left in a situation without necessary care when they are exposed to a substantial risk of mental or physical harm. The demonstration of intent not to return by a guardian or a parent of the child can be seen as one example of neglect. At last, Stoltenborgh et, al. (2011) mention that early intervention is important for the abused children to heal, which can be regarded as one effective means in dealing with child abuse in the reality. And as for the given case, the child abuse that is confronted with by Jessica is actually three kinds of child abuse and they are physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.
The same as Stoltenborgh et, al. (2011), Roesler and Jenny (2008) also illustrate the high incidence of child abuse that fifty-two states have reported that most victims of child abuse are younger than three years old. Besides, the youngest children are the most vulnerable to maltreatment and the victimization rate for children is the highest for children that are younger than one year old (Roesler & Jenny. 2008). It is apparent that such a young age of the children to be the victims of the child abuse can definitely make one feel quite horrible and the severity of the child abuse issue can be readily detected from within. Apart from that, the harms of child abuse is not limited to the abuse itself. The more terrible is that children who have ever experienced child abuse in whatever way are around nine times more likely to carry out criminal activity (Roesler & Jenny. 2008), which will further ruin the life of those abused children. And it is also pointed out that about 30% of the abused children will continue to abuse their own children since they have experienced it themselves, resulting in the formation of the horrible cycle of abuse (Roesler & Jenny. 2008). Judging from this, Jessica may implement child abuse behaviors to her children in the future and the child abuse events will follow all the time. The incidence of even one example of child abuse is actually too bad, let alone the formation of the cycle of abuse. The consequences of child abuse in the long run are far too horrible to be imagined. The financial cost of child abuse in America is estimated to be $585 billion (Roesler & Jenny. 2008). There is no doubt that such a high amount of money is bound to draw the attention of the public to the child abuse issue. It can be assumed that if such a large sum of money is spent on the public welfare, then it will really contribute to the health of the whole humankind in the due time. Thus the spending of this financial cost of child abuse will add up to a great financial loss of the whole country.
Taking the severity and popularity of child abuse over years into consideration, it is undoubted that solutions that can be used to handle the child abuse or eliminate the detrimental effects of child abuse should be proposed. In fact, many previous scholars have put forward their own idea as for how efforts can be made to deal with the child abuse issue. Just as what has been mentioned in the above by Stoltenborgh et, al. (2011) that early intervention can play a part in helping the children that have been abused to heal, early intervention can absolutely be seen as an effective means in tackling child abuse. However, early intervention can only deal with a lighter degree of child abuse.
In addition to early intervention, NRC (1993) claims that the solutions that can be employed to deal with the child abuse problems call for team effort from the point of view of NC group. Detailed speaking, the NC group holds that childhood should be filled with joy and innocence while this ideal is shattered by child abuse, through which the idea that child abuse should be prevented has been delivered. To put this into Jessica’s case, it can be easily predicted that the child abuse she gets from her dad may exert impacts on her education and health to a large extent. Furthermore, it is as well proposed that child abuse problems have cut across political, racial and socio-economic lines (NRC. 1993), which can powerfully show that it is necessary for the child abuse issue to be solved soon. Later on, NRC (1993) states that the solutions to deal with the child abuse issue require more business, community and government support and the joint efforts of the business, community and government support in the meantime are inevitable for the solving of this problem. Or maybe it can be put in another way that various relevant parties have to make efforts on their own in order to reduce the detrimental effects of the child abuse issue to the least. That is to say, Jessica and her dad should both take action in order not to be influenced by the child abuse issue too much.
Furthermore, Cooper & Smith (2011) have come up with seven ways to avoid child abuse and these seven ways can be considered as seven steps that can be applied to prevent the incidence of child abuse. The first step is to get familiar with the facts and understand the risks. Secondly, it is necessary to minimize the opportunity. Detailed speaking, to reduce or eliminate the one-child/one-adult situation can help greatly decrease the risk of sexual abuse to the child. And the third step is to talk about it. However, what is a pity to say is that children are more likely to keep abuse a secret. Under this circumstance, barriers can be broken down by openly talking about it. Fourthly, it would be better to stay alert to the signs when a child has been abused. Usually, the signs are not obvious when a child is abused and the signs may only be spotted with an alert mind. Fifthly, it will take effect to make a plan, including where to go, who to call and how to act. Only in this way can things just happen as it is planned; otherwise it may be quite difficult for it to come out as expected. And the sixth step is to act on suspicions because the well-being of a child may depend on it. Finally, the seventh step is to get involved. After all, to get involved is the most significant to really handle the child abuse issue because it is the specific step that begins to work on the issue in the reality. All these seven steps can take function more or less, but the combined use of two or more steps is bound to bring greater benefits for the solving of the child abuse issue at last.
To sum up, a reasonable conclusion can be drawn that child abuse has really caused great harm to the large majority of children over years and the incidence of child abuse has grown up as time goes by. The dealing of the child abuse issue is actually a problem of the whole society and it calls for the participation of various relevant parties at the same time. There is no doubt that child abuse has to be urgently dealt with in order not to cause further sufferings to the large number of children in the near future; otherwise more and more children may continue to the victims of the child abuse at last. Only in this way can child abuse be paid with the delicate attention and can it be smoothly solved in the due time.