One of the common psychosocial problems is child abuse that has been encountered most of children worldwide. Child abuse can take several forms of maltreatment, it is classified to 4 types mainly, physical, emotional, sexual and neglect. Children’s parents and the caregiver have been identified to be the most abuser in such cases. There are a lot of hidden facts that contribute to child abuse; stress, drug and alcohol intake are examples of the causes that lie down behind it. Some effects of childhood maltreatments are so deep and can be extended to adolescence and adulthood. As health provider you should be aware for the signs and symptoms abused because early identification and management can help to diminish the long-term effects of abuse. On other hand there are two types of prevention of child abuse primary, and secondary.
Raising a child is not easy. Child abuse is considered a main problem that is threatening children all over the world. Most of us can’t imagine the consequences of child abuse .Unfortunately most of the victim are abused by their parents or any family member who might be very close to them. In the same time child abuse can happen in anywhere at schools, clubs, and street not only at home. (In 2007, approximately 5.8 million children were involved in an estimated 3.2 million child abuse reports and allegations. In the United States)
Child Abuse is defined as “endangerment to a child inflicted by another person, usually the caregiver”(Leiter, n.d para1) and includes physical, sexual, emotional abuse, and neglect. Child abuse can be brought by anyone at any time. Child abuse is seen in different frame, physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect. This paper is designed to talk about the types, causes, effects of child abuse and how to deal with it by managing and preventing it.
Physical abuse can be classified as any attempt or harm to a child where the caregiver was conscience of the risk before the fact. Physical abuse refers to non accidental injury to a child. Physical abuse is extremely dangerous to the child and can cause permanent physical and mental disabilities May include striking, burning, shaking, pinching or pulling hair or ear. The child may come with visible mark of maltreatment such as: cuts or bruises, fractures and internal injuries . On the other hand Sexual abuse “refers to any sexual behavior between a child and an adult or an older, bigger, or more powerful person, for that person’s sexual enjoyment.” Sexual abuse while still completely horrible is often times blown completely out of scale and is “the most advertised type of abuse”(Leiter ,n.d Para 2 ). Sex abuse ranges from unwanted kisses to inappropriate touching to sexual interaction. It is the most dangerous form of abuse because it results in very bad scars that are deep and long-lasting, affecting not just abused children but the whole society. Sexual abuse is often times kept hidden more than other types of abuse. Children are forced and threatened not to tell any one of the encounters because of the social humiliation of being involved in sexual abuse. While, Emotional abuse refers to a chronic attitude or behavior directed at a child, or the creation of an emotional environment, which is seriously unfavorable to or impairs the child’s psychological and/or physical development. This type of abusive behavior can bring down an individual’s feeling of self worth and self-esteem. It let the victims to feel worthlessness and it can have more long-lasting negative psychological effects than physical abuse. Such as lack of affection, ignoring, rejecting, and isolating, failure to hug, extreme punishment. Furthermore, Neglect is often thought of as the most dangerous type of abuse. “Neglect refers to any serious omission or commission by a person which jeopardizes or impairs the child’s psychological, intellectual, or physical development””(Leiter ,n.d Para5) Neglect includes anything from leaving children alone for long periods of time to not giving them the correct care for example, failure to provide adequate food, clothing, or hygiene.
Like any other abuse, child abuse also has a cause. There are many causes of child abuse. The most major one among the causes is mental illness, as well as psychological problems. The tendency is that people who are not in their right minds, could easily do harm to children, whether intentional or not. Also, family problems are major causes of child abuse such as poor family relationships, divorce and separation, despair and inability to cope with parenting or poor parental sexual relationship. Parents under the power of drugs could easily hurt their children, also drug or alcohol plays an important role in provoking and the uncontrolled behaviors towards the child. Plus, financial problems could invoke parents or other members of the family to abuse children as an outlet of their emotions. Stress could also be a root cause of child abuse, also disorganized family and socially isolated can be cause, in addition to these causes difficult child who have features of demanding or hyperactive may provoke the temper of the parents which may lead to physical abuse, on the other hand handicapped child who often more dependent will be prone to any type of abuse because they have physical or mental disabilities or both of them .It is good to know the cause of abuse on a certain child so that the treatment will be easy to implement.
The effects of child abuse can be direct shown in childhood or adulthood Children who have experienced child abuse are likely to have some emotional and psychological problems whether they show them or not and in worse cases, a child might have suicidal tendencies because of this. The effects of child abuse on a child depends on how great the abuse is, the greater the abuse, the greater the effect on the overall state of the child. Depression, stress and trauma are also some of the effects of child abuse in children. Abused children also exhibit conditions like difficulty in building up relationships in people, low self image, eating disorders, as well as physical disabilities. Child abuse could also lower the self worth of the child who experienced it.
In addition to that some effects of child abuse are obvious: physical or mental issues broken or bruised body, mental disorders, eating, sleep, abusive etc, separation of family, child become loner, regression child acts younger than age considerably and on purpose, stop speaking, more accidents of toilet trained, poor education, failure to succeed, discrimination, low self esteem, poor self confidence, poor self image, self harm, hurting others, can affect crime, teenage pregnancies
Management of suspected child abuse
Abused children may present in the hospital or to medical nursing staff in the community. They may also be brought for a medical opinion by social services or the police. In all cases ,the procedures of the local area child protection committee should be the followed .the medical consultation should be the same as for any medical condition ,with a full history and full examination .it is usually most productive when this is conducted in a sensitive and concerned way without being accusatory or condemning .any injuries or medical finding should be carefully noted, measured, recorded and drawn on a topographic chart they may need to be photographic with parental consent .the height, weight and head circumference should be recorded and kept in a chart. All notes should be dated, timed and signed. Treatment of specific injuries should be ingested and blood tests and X-ray undertaken. If abuse is suspected or confirm, a decision needs to be made as to whether immediate treatment is required and if the child needs immediate protection from further harm. If this is the case, this may be achieved by admission to hospital, which also allows investigation and multidisciplinary assessment. If sympathetically handled, most parents are willing to accept medical advice for hospital admission for observation and investigation. Occasionally this is not possible and legal enforcement is required. If medical treatment is not necessary but it is felt to be unsafe for the child to return home, placement may be found in a foster home. In addition to a detailed medical assessment, evaluation by social workers and other health professional will be required. A child protection conference will be convened in accordance with local procedures .in the UK, the conference will be chaired by senior member of social services department or of the National society for the prevention of cruelty to children (NSPCC).Member of conference may include social worker ,health visitors ,police, general practitioner ,teachers and lawyers .increasingly, parents attend all or part of the cause conference .Details of the incidents leading to the conference and the family background will be discussed .good communication and a trusting working relationship between the professional are vital as it can be extremely difficult to evaluate the likelihood that injures were inflicted deliberately and possible outcome of legal proceeding .The conference will decide whether to place the child’s name on the child protection ,also there should be an application to the court to protect register the child and follow up is needed .if the child is place is placed on the child protection protection register ,the social services department will produce a child protection care plan which will include medical follow up in many instances. There are many steps which can be taken also to protect the child .in UK, this enshrined legislatively in children act (1989), which clarified and recognize the law, and came into operation in late 1991.
Child abuse prevention:
There are two types of child abuse prevention primary and secondary prevention
Primary prevention involves identifying families at risk before any injury occurs. There may be” cry for help ” from the mother, such as frequent visit to the doctor for minor problems or complaints of excessive crying or difficult feeding. The mother may say that she thinks she will injure the child: this should always be taken seriously and steps taken to relieve the crisis by admitting the child to hospital if necessary. Once recognize as a family at risk ,addition support from health visitor or social worker may prevent the crisis leading to actual injury.
Secondary prevention means identifying children who have been injured and taken steps to prevent further injury. Subsequent injury is likely to be more severe. Plans will normally be made at case conference and may mean removing the child from home at least temporarily, but many children perhaps 35-45% can be reunited with their parents when situation improves. Child abuse can be prevented through the efforts to build on family strength. This could be achieved through activities such as parent education, home visit, parent support groups or public education.
The Child Abuse Prevention Service (CAPS) was founded in 1973 and aims to alleviate child abuse in all its forms through family support and community education. CAPS runs a free, national telephone line offering support, information, and referral to those affected by or concerned about child abuse. You can call the telephone line on 1800 688 009 and speak to one of our highly-trained support workers.
In conclusion, child abuse needs to be better recognized. In order for it to be more recognized, people need to gain more knowledge. More information needs to be presented to the public. Everyone needs to work together to decrease this problem because whether or not you think it is affecting you, it really is. Abuse affects society as Ð° whole and that includes everyone in it. Child abuse is the number one killer of children all over the world. The four forms neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse continue to hunt children all over the world. Child abusers inflict physical, sexual, and emotional trauma on defenseless children every day. The scars can be deep and long-lasting. Everyone can support and help abused child by reporting of any child abuse case so they can support the child by managing the abuse or preventing further damage.