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What Is Child Abuse? Essay

2206 words - 9 pages

What is Child Abuse? By definition, child abuse is the deliberate and willful

injury of a child by a caretaker hitting, beating with an object, slamming

against a wall, even killing. It involves active, hostile, aggressive treatment.

The key word in the definition of child abuse is deliberate. Why would

anyone physically harm a child? The physical destruction of a child is the

extreme reaction of parents to the stress of having children. Most people are

not aware of the fact that deliberately hitting a child is considered a felony in

all fifty states. Abuse of children is more common than most people realize.

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The increasing number of reports could mean that in recent years, social

workers, health professionals, and other experts have become better able to

recognize cases of mistreatment. Some 60,000 cases of abuse are reported

annually. (Sargo 12) Many battered children must endure a second terrible

problem - neglect. Neglect, which occurs when parents or others who are

responsible for a child’s welfare fail to provide for the child’s basic needs in

any number of ways. Physical neglect occurs when the caretaker fails to

provide adequate food, clothing, or shelter. Physical neglect also occurs

when the person caring for a child refuses to seek health care or delays in

doing so. Other examples are abandoning a child, either permanently or

temporarily, and when a child is kicked out of home or refused to be let back

in. There is also educational neglect when parents do not force their children

to attend school. Early civilization regularly abandoned deformed or surplus

children, and ritual sacrifice of the children to appease the gods took place in

Egyptian, Carthaginian, Roman, Greek, and Aztec societies. (Child 2) Either

they do not enroll the child in school at the age required by law, or they allow

their children to be chronically truant from classes. (Gelles 21). 3 Another

form of neglect is emotional neglect, which occurs when parents or guardians

behave “in a way that deeply disturbs a young child.” (Sargo 15) Some

examples of emotional abuse occur when parents fight or beat each other in

front of a child, when they give a child permission to use drugs or alcohol or

when the parents themselves are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Then

there is moral neglect, when parents let their children run loose in the streets

at all hours so he or she risks getting in trouble with the law. Moral neglect

also occurs when the parents allow or encourage the child to perform criminal

acts. Of the various types of neglect, physical is said to be the most common.

The DHHS study reports that some 571,600 American children suffer from

physical neglect . Educational neglect is next at just over 292,000 children.

Emotional neglect is third with 223,000 victims. (Child 11) Sexual abuse,

which is also known as sexual molestation, is defined as the exploitation of a

minor for the sexual gratification of an adult. Sexual abuse involves forcing,

tricking, bribing, threatening or pressuring a child into sexual awareness or

activity. Sexual abuse is an abuse of power over a child and a violation of a

child’s right of normal, healthy, trusting relationship. Sexual abuse occurs

when an older child or...

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