ChildAbuse and Neglect
ChildAbuse and Neglect
Theburden of child mistreatments and neglect is in various parts of theglobe, but very few people and systems exist to compare the problemacross any national levels. It is correct to mention that the dilemmaof the child abuse cuts across from the beginning of the definitionof the term child abuse and neglect. There is no standard definitionof the terms child exploitation and neglect. Each nation, culture,and community offer a varied definition of the term abuse hence,providing a global definition would be the first mistake in theprocess of understanding the root problem (Budd, et al. 2013).
However,the forms of child manipulation and negligence are the same acrossthe various divides of cultures and communities. They have commonforms of violence such as sexual violence, psychologicalmaltreatment, and physical abuse (Budd, et al. 2013). Condie guidesthat in all of these similar cases, the psychological practitionershave a huge role in understanding the dynamics surrounding thefierceness, and then making well-informed decisions that relate tochild protection matters (2007). More so, the information,conclusions, and observations made from the psychological analysis ofany particular case of cruelty and negligence help the courts regardthe functions of the involved parties hence increasing the fairnessof the court’s system to handling the abuse related cases (Condie,et al. 2007). Over time, the practice of psychology gets morecomplicated, and it increases the involvement between thepsychologists and the public figures. As a result, there arises theneed for the psychologists to educate the masses, the professionals,and any other interested party about the desired professionalapproach towards the practice of child protection (Condie, et al.2007). With such efforts, cumulative steps to curb abuse andnegligence arise. Such efforts exist as guidelines developed for thepsychological practitioners involved in propagating and advocatingfor child protection policies and practices.
Theterm guidelines mean the words or instructions that propose andendorse an individual behavior in the professional perspective,activities, and roles of the psychologists involved in the childprotection processes (Melton, et al. 2007). According to Melton,guidelines are not standards since the latter demand a strict andmandatory following and always come with an enforcement system(2007). The guidelines in place aim to gather around the variousdefinitions of the child abuse and neglect and facilitate amethodical development that aids the forensic psychologists to dealwith the matters regarding ill-treatment. Therefore, the existence ofthe various guidelines that focus on the child protection helps usunderstand the existing problem and also offer us a direct platformupon which we can act to resolve the problem.
Asaforementioned, the various forms of child mistreatment occur incommon forms across the globe. The most common among them is thephysical abuse where a child endures injury from willful actions ofan adult (Kuehle, et al. 2013). It might be very specific to coveractions such as hitting, kicking, slapping, biting, or using anyinjury-inflicting objects to the body of a child. Across manydefinitions provided by various laws passed that define physicalmistreatment, a physical mark created by the intentional act of theadult acts as evidence of the child abuse and is used to form moreaccurate reports when reporting to the relevant authorities (Budd, etal. 2011). However, the physical abuse of children getsmisinterpreted by an enormous unknowing populace through the processof corporal punishment. In the United States alone, twenty-threestates allow corporal punishment in the public schools (Kuehle, etal. 2013). In these states and other countries of the world thatindulge their children in corporal punishment, there is a thin linethat differentiates the physical abuse from the corporal punishment.Such populaces do not believe that the corporal punishment could haveany detrimental effects on the development of the children. In thecultures, the corporal punishments only compose a natural form ofdisciplining their children.
Additionally,the cruelty through the form of physical abuse can also occur throughthe various forms of exploitations. In Sri Lanka, Thailand, and thePhilippines, there is accurate and evidence-based documentation ofsexual exploitation of the children (Kuehnle, et al. 2009). More so,labor exploitation of the children is evident in India, with SriLanka conscripting its children into the military (Kuehnle, et al. 2009). These types of exploitations violate the well-laid guidelinesthat advocate for child protection. Juvenile abandonment exists invaried forms. For instance, the nutritional needs of a child may beignored, causing the child to have a deficient diet. In most cases,the parents and caretakers may unknowingly commit nutritional neglectto their children from lack of knowledge of healthy foods andnecessary diets. Furthermore, physical neglect occurs when theparents and the children’s caretakers fail to provide adequateshelter, food, and clothing for the children (Kuehnle, et al. 2009).The neglect extends to cover failure to offer supervision to thechildren, denial of proper medical attention, and overall lack ofresponse to the children portraying behavior and signs that need aresponse. The type of neglect depends on the culture of a particularcommunity. For instance, across India, many young girls get earlyexposure to forced marriages because the marriages act as a source ofincome for the families (Kuehnle, et al. 2009). In other communities,young girls have exposure to sexual activities against their will asthey are forced to work in brothels. Due to the high levels ofpoverty in Romania, many children do not get access to education, andtheir families offer petite assistance as they grow (Kuehnle, et al.2009).
Psychologicallyexplained, the existent problem persists from historical times as itwas hard for most parents and caregivers to believe that a parentwould willingly inflict pain or harm towards their children. It isthe reason why various cultures and countries ignore to handle thechild exploitations and abandonment as a result of the engravedacceptance to that sort of violence. More so, it is so from themislead belief of cultures must strive at all costs to preserve thefamily unit, even if it means abusing and neglecting the children inthe societies (Kuehnle, et al. 2009).
Thepsychological theories tend to offer an explanation of thecharacteristics of the abusers and the victims of the manipulation.The psychological theories focus on the traits of the offenders.Various theories expound on the psychological approach. Theattachment theory explained that the maternal deprivation on youngchildren at their first years of life helped create social andpsychological difficulties later in life. However, the approach isinsufficient as it fails to offer a satisfactory explanation of thesexual abusers and it does not take into account the dynamics of afull family unit (Lamb, et al. 2010). Additionally, Lamb explainsthe psychodynamic theory as that abuse on the maternal figure duringher young age makes her display a lack of empathy, slow response andno apparent sensitive awareness to her children (2010). It proves themother-child function is essential to eradicate child abuses andneglects. The learning theory shows that people learn and developbehavior from their interaction with their environment. For instance,portraying violent behavior may be a result of observing violent rolemodels, so that adults that experienced and watched punitivetreatment may rely upon and be confident that only such methods workbest in disciplining their children. The learning theory has flaws insuch that it fails to take into account the gendered nature of mostabuses it fails to explain as to why men have a disproportionaterepresentation in the abuser populace and fails to back up why somepeople are abusers while they did not go through any form ofexploitation.
Additionalapproaches termed as social psychological theories help focus anindividual with the dynamics associations of the abuser, the kid, andthe immediate surrounding. The individual interactionist perceptionperceives that a climate of abuse can emerge from parents lackingnecessary skills to handle any challenging behavior from a particularchild displaying the behavior (London, et al. 2008). The familydysfunction theory relates the problem to the dynamics of the familyunit (London, et al. 2008). London illustrates the abuses occurfrom a gradual breakdown of the family’s boundaries, chains ofcommand, and relationships (2008). Some parents may have a scapegoatchild, or may punish a single child to get to the other parent. Forinstance, a father may sexually abuse his teenage daughter as anescape to seeking emotional and sexual satisfaction caused by asexual and communication breakdown with his wife. More so, thesocial, ecological approach offers a hypothesis that harsh andunfavorable environmental conditions increase the likelihood ofabuse.
Sociologicalperspectives place a huge emphasis on political and social conditionsas the leading catalysts for ill-treatment and neglect. Thesociological perspective exempts any form of individualcharacteristic from the child abuse and pins all the blame to socialfactors. An example of such perspective is the social-culturalperspective that regards the existence of various elements in thesociety as agents for child abuse. The societal attitude thatendorses ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ creates the unwantedculture where many families prefer disciplining their children usinga cane or through a certain form of beating (Grisso, et al. 2013).More so, the current world sexualizes women, idolizes prostitution,and promotes women’s nakedness in the mainstream media making itclose to normal to expose young girls to forced sexual escapades andcreating a society whereby sex crimes against young girls can gounpunished even by the law. Moreover, the social structuralperspective claims that the processes of child abuse and neglect areclass related. The theory asserts that the social classes areresponsible for the violence, as they sanction inequality, pooreducation, health, and living standards. However, the perspective haswithin itself a weakness as it fails to account why many poor peoplefail to manipulate their children (Grisso, et al. 2013). Theperception that children are property owned by their parentscontributes to mishandling and disregard. It is common for parents tosmack children for misbehaving, but the former do not smack theirfellow parents for misbehaving. So, if children had the same rightsin the society as the adults, they would face less exploitation andmistreatment.
Inconclusion, many other perspectives and theories aim to give anexplanation as to why abusers commit the cruelty towards children.More so, they offer an explanation of the characteristics thattrigger an abuser to subject the children to abuse and neglect.However, from all of the perspectives and theories, it is conclusivethat a range of factors may be of causal role in the misuse of thechild. Additionally, some factors are proximal while others tend tobe distal having more cumulative results across various cultures. Theauthors and sources sighted above mention facts already gathered toexplain the dilemma of the child mishandling. More explanations stillsurface, and it is of the human race to take the matter seriously andfind lasting solutions to provide child protection adequately for allchildren of the world.
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Meltonet al. (2007). Chapter 15: Child abuse and neglect (pp. 441_482).