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Child Abuse and the People Who Fail Them

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Child Abuse and the People Who Fail Them

“Child abuse by definition is the mistreatment or neglect of a child that results in non-accidental harm or injury and which cannot be reasonably explained. Child abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.” (Hopper, 2005) According to Lingren, child abuse was not identified as a grave crisis until the 1960s wherein “the Children’s Defense fund collected data which revealed that a child is reported abused or neglected every 13 seconds, of every hour, of every day, 365 days a year.” Each year approximately three million American children are being beaten, neglected, or sexually abused by their own parents and/or guardians. Most people tend to think that the home is a child’s safe sanctuary where they can getaway from the injustices of world as their parents protect them. Unfortunately, for many of the abuse children, their homes have become more like a haunted mansion, a place of terror, fear, guilt, hurt and neglect. If, in fact, this is the case, why are these children being forgotten or put on the back burner until it’s too late? Many wonder nowadays whether the Department of Social Service is sleeping on the job or the social workers just cannot be bothered.

In light of the current child abuse incident, one is left with this penetrating question, has the Administration of Children Services and the Department of Social Services failed all the abused children. The circumstances that surround many of the reported abuse cases is an indication that a thorough sweep of policies, directors, case workers , social workers, etc. need to be made in order to figure out what works and what does not. Although there is no simple solution, this paper will examine background history, issues, causes, proposed solution amongst other things about child abuse.

I. The Problem

Child abuse has become one of the most heartbreaking and unbearable problem in America today. One explanation why abuse is on the increase every year could be that families are undergoing a number of significant adjustments whether economically, physically and/or moral commitments. Although children have been abused throughout the ages, one can only wonder when discipline turns into physical abuse of a child. Has that thin line been readjusted or simply ignored.

A. Child Abuse

What is child abuse? It is the physical or emotional abuse of a child by a parent, guardian, or other person. Reports of child abuse, including sexual abuse, beating, and murder, have climbed in the United States and some authorities believe that the number of cases is largely under reported. Child neglect is sometimes included in legal definitions of child abuse to cover instances of malnutrition, desertion, and inadequate care of a child's safety.

II. History of Child Abuse

“Prior to the 16th century, most children beyond the age of 6 were considered small adults whose parents had almost unlimited power over them.” (The Awareness Center, 2004). The fight for children’s rights in the U.S. began with a little girl by the name of Mary Ellen, a born to Irish immigrants in 1864. The year Mary Ellen was born was the same year her father was killed in the Civil War. Her mother had to work and, therefore, had to make arrangements for her daughter’s care. At the age of three, Mary Ellen’s mom could no longer pay for her daughter’s care and, therefore, Mary Ellen ended up in the care of the New York City’s Department of Charities. Shortly thereafter, the city turned little Mary Ellen over to a couple who lied about being related to her. According to neighbors and the landlord where Mary Ellen lived, she was not permitted to go outside, nor did she have warm clothing for during the winter months or even a bed to sleep in. For six years she was forced to do physical labor beyond her strength, was scrawny and her fragile body was covered with bruises and marks. Although the landlord made several attempts to intervene, she was unsuccessful to come to Mary Ellen’s aid. In absolute and

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