Child abuse is mistreatment of children or the exposure of harmful material and behaviors to children. It has different types and level of severity, for example, sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse and neglect. Children exposed to abuse are affected differently, and their distinct experiences contribute to shaping their behavior as they grow (Iverson and Marilyn 13). This paper looks at the different forms of child abuse, statistics and facts of child abuse, causes and effects of child abuse, as well as presents the discussion on control measures taken to prevent child abuse.
Types of child abuse
There are four main forms of child abuse. The first form is physical abuse, which is intentional excessive infliction of pain and injury on a child. Physical abuse commonly results from excessive physical punishment, torture and assault of children. Any form of punishment that causes bruises, lacerations, wounds to children is physical abuse. This form of abuse is commonly perpetrated by parents and teachers in homes and schools respectively. The use of canes, belts or any object to punish a child is perpetrating physical abuse ((Iverson and Marilyn 44).
Child sexual abuse is defined as the use of children for sexual fulfillment, touching the child’s genitalia with the intent of causing sexual arousal to either the perpetrator or the child and exposing a child to pornography. Sexual abuse also includes seduction of children towards sexual relationships. Pedophiles are the main perpetrators of this form of abuse, which may be either acquaintances or strangers to a child (Roesler 11).
Child neglect and emotional abuse arise when there is not sufficient attention from the guardians or parents. Negative attitude of the parents towards the child harms their sense of belonging and negatively affects their socializing aspect in life. Poor parenting from the children’s guardians helps perpetrate emotional neglect. Lack of proper care, sufficient feeding, and improper clothing are the forms of child neglect and abuse. It also encompasses failure or discrimination in providing proper medical care (Iverson and Marilyn 78).
Causes of child abuse
Child abuse is mainly arising from a combination of social, cultural and personal factors. In a micro perspective, parents or adults close to the children perpetrate most child abuse cases. These are the primary perpetrators, but there are the macro-dynamics that help influence the abuse. They include transmission of violence through generations, where the upbringing of children in abusive relationships is likely to correlate with abuse of their own children in the future, and the cycle continues. It is estimated that 30 percent of children in abusive relationships take up the behavior to their adult life as abusive parents (Check 112)
Social economic stress is another significant cause of abusive relationships to children. Unemployment, poor housing, illness and inadequate resources in the family help propel the chances of child abuse. Studies have shown that the majority of reported cases of child abuse are happening in the families of poor backgrounds. Any stress stimulating factor, for example alcohol and drug abuse, propels the parents to inflict different forms of abuse and neglect towards their children. Cultural factors determine how a community supports and relates with individual members. Children in abusive relationships tend to be from communities where there is little or no interaction among members. The disintegration of cultural practices and traditions has affected the way parenting is carried out, which has caused a rise in child abuse cases due to poor parenting (Check 116).
Effects of child abuse
There are mild and detrimental effects of abusive relationships to children. The effects vary from the severity of abuses and environment of the child. Delinquent behaviors thrive and develop in children from abusive relationships as they suffer from neglect. They suffer from psychological problems including aggression, depression, attention problems among others. They are also likely to turn to alcohol and drug abuse. They suffer from identity issues as well as experience difficulties in socializing. These victims of child abuse have negative opinions of themselves and low self-esteem, and it becomes evident in their adulthood (Roesler 18).
Prevention and treatment of child abuse
There are different measures taken to treat and prevent child abuse. Some these measures relate to parenting children, therapy for the abused victims and punishment to the perpetrators. Communication with children is an essential aspect of parenting, through which parents and family members understand the children needs and emotions. This facilitates bonding of the child to the family and enhances his or her social skills. This is effective when there is unity and harmony in the family. Victims of child abuse should be treated for psychological disorders through long-term and short-term psychological therapies. These therapies prevent effects of trauma shocks experienced by the victims. Therapies help to restore their self confidence and self-esteem to enhance their integration into the society. Punishment for perpetrators of child abuse should be severe, and this explains why child rights offenders face severe sentences as the punishment from the justice system. Children rights are entrenched together with human rights. Moreover, in the laws of most countries there is stiff punishment defined for the violators. These are some of the many interventions to help prevent child abuse (Check 178).
This paper has defined and highlighted the various forms of child abuse perpetrated on children, the main causes and perceived potential perpetrators. It has also explained the effects and possible remedies of child abuse taken to prevent the abuse and treat the victims in case it happened. It is essential to uphold all human rights and especially those affecting the children to secure the health of future generations.
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