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Child Abuse and Neglect

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Table of Contents


I. Abuse and Neglect at Home

A. Single Parent Home

B. Step Parents Homes

C. Nuclear Homes

II. Forms of Abuse

A. Physical Abuse

B. Physical Neglect

C. Emotional Abuse

D. Sexual Abuse

III. Forms of Punishment

A. Physical Punishment

B. Verbal Punishment

IV. Abuse and Neglect in School

V. Emotional Problems

A. Suicide

B. Crime

C. Syndromes

1. Munchausen's Syndrome

2. Stockholm's Syndrome

3. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

VI. Prevention Programs

A. National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN)

B. Family Resource Coalition (FRC)

C. Child Abuse Prevention Foundation/ Polinsky Children's Center


VII. Conclusion

VIII. Survey Questions

Survey Results

VIII. Reference Page

Child Victimization

(Child Abuse And Neglect)


Of all the problems facing today's modern society, none are more critical than that of child abuse. With today's knowledge and new methods of stopping and preventing child abuse, the problem would seemingly be on the verge of non-existence. Ironically, the problem continues to evolve with the times, and becomes more and more complex. When considering the many facets of the complicated problem of child abuse--the different types of abuse, justifying what is and is not abuse, appropriating punishment for abuse, etc.--its no wonder the problem seems to never go away. When analyzing the matter critically, the problem with child abuse becomes even more complicated.

I. Abuse and Neglect at Home

Marital status and family structure have been frequently investigated as factors that may have a strong effect on child abuse and neglect. Most people believe that most child abuse and neglect cases come from the child's home. That means children are usually abused or neglected by someone in their immediate family circle. This can include parents, brothers or sisters, babysitters or other familiar adults. Children undergo many different levels of abuse in the home due to different family arrangements. They may live in single parent, nuclear, or an extended family.

A. Single Parent Homes

Children are now significantly more likely to be raised by single parent families. The increasing number of single parent families is constantly adding unnecessary pressures on children and the parent in those families. All of these combine to make adequate family functioning even more difficult to achieve. These pressures that the parent often endures cause stress that is mistakenly taken out on the child. "Using the data from two U.S. national incidence studies of family violence, it was found that single parent families were not more likely to use physical violence overall, but that single parent households were more likely than two-parent households to use severe violence (high probability of injury); this was particularly the case in single father households" (Gelles 1989).

Overall however, poor, young, single mothers with young children were most likely to report that they physically abuse their children (Gelles 1992). But there is many cases when the single parent is not the child abuser. In some cases, friends of the single mother have sexually abused children. Children living with single mothers may be exposed to greater numbers of adult males than those in two-parent households, which in turn may place a greater risk of being sexually abused. Children in single-parent families are at greater risk of neglect. Child neglect is commonly associated with low income, poor housing and living conditions, low educational and employment levels, and larger, multi-problem families who are in receipt of government benefits (Daro 1988). Children may suffer from lack of cognitive stimulation or nurture. Children may yearn for a sense of security and companionship.

B. Step-Parent Homes

Another type family that is growing more common in the United States is families with stepparents. A stepparent is a parent that is not the child's biological parent, but instead a person who might have married into their parental position. The U.S. National Research Council (1993) noted that children who have had a stepfather are at greater risk of abuse. Studies show there is no difference with the severity of the abuse cases involving stepparents. Using a representative U.S. sample generated by the Second National Family Violence Survey, reported no significant differences between biological and non-biological parents in the rates of severe (high probability of causing an injury) and very severe (higher probability of an injury) physical violence towards children (Gelles and Harrop 1991).

C. Nuclear Homes

The jobs of parenting have changed by the parents abusing their children with not providing love, and not being aware of what their children are facing. Children are taught to come to their parents for love and affection. It is sadly to say, that more children now are frightened to come to their parents for guidance,



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