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Child Abuse

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The Rate of child abuse has been increasing over the years. It has become a serious problem in our country and something needs to be done about it. There are many things that could be done to reduce the amount of child abuse and neglect each year. But for changes to be made the government needs to get involved and more serious laws need to be made. Everyone can somehow make a difference on the amount of child abuse and neglect that occurs in not only our country, but all over the world.

The definition of child abuse varies. According to child abuse experts Jill Goldman and Marsha K. Salus, the definition of child abuse and neglect refers to parents and other caregivers. A “child” under this definition is referring to a person that is under the age of eighteen or who is not an emancipated minor. There is a great variation from state to state regarding the details of child abuse definitions, but it is still possible to identify commonalities among each different type of maltreatment. These commonalities reflect common views of parental actions that are seen as improper or unacceptable because they place children at a risk of physical and emotional harm. When a parent neglects their child they are failing to provide their child with its basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, supervision, and medical care (Goldman and Salus). This kind of care for a child could have many long term negative effects on their lives.

There are many different types of child neglect. One type is physical neglect. This type of neglect consists of a parent’s failure to provide their child with health care when needed, leaving the child with out proper care or supervision, and inadequate nutrition, clothing, or hygiene. It also consists of the parent’s having no regard of the child’s safety. For example, a parent may drive without putting the child in a car seat, drive while under the influence, or leave the child alone in the car. Another type of neglect is emotional neglect. A parent can cause emotional problems in a child many different ways. Some ways are that they may fail to give the child the love and affection that it needs, letting violence occur in front of the child, such as fighting with a spouse, and abusing drugs or alcohol in front of the child (Goldman and Salus). These kinds of problems at home may cause a child to need professional help, but most likely if parents act this way around and towards their children, they are not going to seek them any psychological help.

Child abuse and neglect affect children of all ages, races, and incomes, but there are ways to change that. It is said in the article “"Individuals Can Help Reduce

Child Abuse and Neglect", that things like parental education, community centers, respite care services, and substance abuse treatment programs can help to protect children by addressing circumstances that place families at risk for child abuse and neglect. Individuals can also make a difference by reporting any type of suspected child abuse whether or not they are mandated by law to do so. Reporting it may save a child, and a family. Also individuals can educate other people in their community so that those people can also help prevent child abuse and neglect (National). If everyone in some way got involved to help prevent child abuse it could make a huge difference on that amount of child abuse that occurs in our towns and in our country.

There are many different reasons why child abuse and neglect may occur in a family. Referring to the article “The Breakdown of the Family Causes Child Abuse”, the increase in child abuse during the last two decades of the twentieth century is closely tied to the increase in divorce, single parent households, teenage pregnancy, youth violence, and a general decay of fundamental moral values. It is unsafe for a child in a single parent household for many reasons. Single-mother families tend to be at lower economic levels than traditional two-parent families; hence, poverty sometimes plays a factor in creating a dangerous situation for the child, who is already in an unstable and potentially violent environment. Even the presence of a father figure does not eliminate the dangers posed to the child. In fact, a mother's live-in boyfriend or new husband places the child at risk of being sexually abused (“The Breakdown”). "Many studies have shown a relationship between having a stepfather in the home and sexual abuse, especially abuse of daughters," reports author Karen Kinnear.

When a child is abused or neglected by their parents it can affect them in many different ways. Blair Sadler, president and chief executive officer of Children's Hospital and Health Center in San Diego argues that the abuse maltreated children suffer often leaves behind more than just physical scars. According to Sadler,

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