Child Abuse Essay: A Sample Essay for training:
One of the major problems which faces societies in our days is child abuse and neglect. This problem has always existed, but it is now that scientists are beginning to discover the disastrous results that it leads to. Neglect and abuse are the same, expect in one major difference. While the damage is not intended in the cases of neglect, it is intended in the cases of abuse (Griffin, 1992). By definition, neglect is the absence of adequate social, emotional and physical care. Abuse on the other hand is defined as the nonaccidental physical attack on or injury to children by individuals caring for them. The majority of the cases of abuse are those of emotional abuse (Griffin, 1992). However, cases of physical abuse are also serious with 20,000 cases recorded annually in the US as cases of physical abuse. Physical abuse involves hitting the child in such a way as to hurt him. At the same time, more than 113,000 cases are reported annually in the US as sexual abuse cases (Zanden, 1993). Sexual abuse is defined as the forced, tricked, or coerced sexual behavior between a child and an older person. Sexual abuse is considered to be the worst kind of child abuse, and is usually the least reported, mainly because it takes place inside the family.
Child abuse in Lebanon is not a new problem. In fact, the patriarchial structure of the Lebanese family gives the father more chances to abuse his children and even his wife. Besides, our society tolerates beating children in order to make them grow up straight. Our heritage contains proverbs such as “use the stick for those who disobey,” and “hit your child and he will be straight.”
II. Child abuse essay: Scope
In Lebanon, child abuse is becoming a serious problem that needs to be resolved quickly. Visiting the emergency sections in any hospital will include a few children whom their parents will report that they have fallen while they were playing. According to Dr. Rola Abi Nader, in the emergency section in Jiiatawi Hospital in Ashrafieh, most of these cases are usually victims of child abuse. Despite this, both the children and their parent insist that it was an accident, and consequently, the medical authorities do not report to the police.
III. Child abuse essay: Symptoms
Social agencies specialized in fighting child abuse in the US have listed six important symptoms which teachers must notice in order to report for child abuse.
The first sign is to look for bruises. The second is to see whether the child complains from beating or maltreatment. If the teacher notices that the child arrives early or stays late after school, then she might have to report because the child might be trying to escape from the abuse at home. Children who are frequently late or absent may also be victims of abuse. Besides, children who are aggressive, disruptive and bullying tend to be abused at home, whereas those who are isolated, shy and withdrawn are usually ignored and neglected. Finally, a child wearing clothes which do not suit the weather, or who seems to be in need of medical attention might be a victim of child neglect or abuse as well (Warwick, 1995).
IV. Child abuse essay: Consequences of Child Abuse
Child abuse usually results in the mal-development of the child’s character. The child is brought up according to violent standards which become implanted inside him or her. Due to the long process of bringing up which lasts for the entire period of childhood and adolescence, the abused child grows up to be violent in turn. To such a child, violence is the only method that he had been taught to deal with others in life, and this influences his scope in dealing with others (Barington, 1995). Other abused children may be too intimidated and isolated. They fear to express their feelings because they have been brought under restriction.
The impact of sexual abuse is even worse. Studies show that teenage runaway, prostitution, drug abuse, clinical depression, low self-esteem and suicidal behavior are all associated with sexual abuse, especially among females. On the other hand, little is known on the symptoms that appear in males because very few cases of male victims are even known. The reason is that boys are raised to control themselves and feelings, and this is why they usually avoid the subject and may even minimize the important of the event if it happens to them (Russel, 1995).
V.Causes of Child Abuse
Abuse appears in families for many different reasons. One reason for abuse and neglect by parents is that they do not understand the needs of their children. For example, a mother might think that her son is crying because he is hungry while he is feeling pain. She tries to feed him but he cries more. If this misunderstanding happens a lot, the mother becomes frustrated and the parent will lose her temper. She might start hitting or pushing the baby. She might even stop caring at all.
Another cause for abuse and neglect is poverty. It is noticed that in poor families, parents tend to care less for their children and even to show more abuse. This might be the result of frustration which the parents feel as they are unable to make a good living. Cases of child abuse increase a lot in case the parent, especially the father, loses a job. In such cases, children become the way through which the parent releases the angry feelings inside himself.
Although poverty might be an important factor for child abuse, studies show that abuse occurs in all kinds of families in all social backgrounds. Even in rich families where the parents fight a lot, the stress forces the parents to abuse and neglect their children.
Besides, if parents are addictive to drugs or alcohol, the chances for child abuse and neglect become very high. Also, if the family as a whole does not communicate with the neighborhood and remains isolated all the time, then there are more chances that the children will become victims of child abuse and neglect.
Some psychologists have found out that about 20% of abusive and neglecting parents were themselves victims of child abuse and neglect when they were young children. Professionals were able to prove that there is a cycle of violence which passes from parent to child, making the chances for an abused child to become an abusive parents very high. However, it is not necessarily true that abused children will become abusive parents in the end.
Countries in which child abuse has a long history such as the US have already come out with many solutions. In Lebanon, however, child abuse has only lately been recognized as a major problem. Consequently, little collective or organized action has been done in order to protect the rights of the child.
The first step required to prevent child abuse is to activate legal intervention. In Lebanon, the law does not intervene in family problems such as child abuse. What we need is a decisive set of laws which protect the rights of the child inside the family, and against the possible aggression of the parents or elderly brothers. Moreover, the law must be decisive about the rights of the child at home. Abusive parents must be punished, even to the extent of depriving them the right to custody of the child if they are incapable of raising their children in the proper manner.
The second step for intervention is to provide for a hotline for reporting. When abused children become aware that there is a hotline to receive their complaints seriously, they will take the initiative and report to protect themselves. If no such line exists, children will be abused in silence, and all the laws to prevent child abuse will not have any value. The hotline should not only be used by abused children, but also by teachers, neighbors and every member of the society who thinks that a child next door or in the community is being abused by an adult. After all, children are minor citizens who are unable to protect themselves against the aggression of adults.
Public awareness is also very important to prevent the problem of child abuse. People who think that it is none of their business to report on abusive neighbors are in fact participating in making the problem worse. It is their obligation in fact to report, because a violation of human rights is taking place. Public awareness is not an easy thing to attain. The only way to do so is to establish specialized agencies for the protection of child rights, and to educate the public about their obligations towards these agencies and the children of the community.
Finally, one of the most important steps needed to prevent child abuse is to educate parents. This education must take place in two phases. In the first phase, awareness programs targeted at parents in the media and in social agencies should educate parents on the concepts of child abuse, its causes, consequences and ways of dealing with it. However, the second phase which is more radical and consequently more influential is to start education on child abuse in school programs, especially for those who will become parents in the future. In other words, notions of child abuse must be included in the national education programs.
Child abuse has always existed in our society. It is now that we are becoming aware of it. It is true that there are no statistics to prove that the problem exists, but we know it does, from the ways we see other parents treat their children, or the cases we see in hospitals. These symptoms exist all the time, and cannot be simply overlooked by society. Solutions are available. They just need support from child-rights agencies and from the government.
Barington, S. (1995). Journal of Child Neglect & Abuse.
Griffin, Anothony. (1992). Child Abuse. New York: Madison Press Inc.
Russel, James. (1995). Journal of Child Neglect & Abuse.
Warwick, Emily. (1995). Child Abuse & Neglect. New York: City Hall Inc.
Zanden, Vander. (1993). Human Development. New York: McGraw Hill Inc.