- Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays

Child Abuse

Essay by   •  December 7, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  2,652 Words (11 Pages)  •  774 Views

Essay Preview: Child Abuse

Report this essay
Page 1 of 11

Child abuse is the "saddest and most tragic problem" in the United States today (Dolan IX). It is estimated that one to two million children is affected by child abuse each year. Victims range from ages of a few weeks to late teenage years. Child abuse has been around for hundreds and thousands of years. In the past twenty years, however, the number of cases has been multiplying.

While most child abuse cases are not fatal, some do end in death. Some researchers have even labeled child abuse an "epidemic." Because more than fifty percent of child abuse cases are not reported, the exact numbers will never be known. In the 1970's the United States government issued a survey about the number of child abuse cases. The survey showed that there are more than 60,000 cases of child abuse in some form each year. Another survey, in 1976 showed that the annual number of cases had grown to half a million. Though this study was found to have many repeated cases, the government estimated that the number of cases had risen to 100,000 to 200,000 cases per year.

Dr. Vincent Fontana, a doctor at New York City's Foundling Hospital estimated that one and a half million children would be abused in any given year (Dolan 6). He predicted that 300,000 victims will be permanently injured,

physically and/or emotionally, and that in the next five to ten year period 50,000 children will die (2,000 per year). He also predicted that it would surpass the top four leading causes of death (accidents, cancer, physical defects, and pneumonia).

Child abuse can be classified into four basic groups:

1. Physical

a. Sexual

b. Physical Beatings

2. Emotional

3. Neglect

4. Moral, Educational, Etc.

Physical abuse counts for twenty-four percent of all child abuse cases. Sexual abuse is twelve percent. Neglect counts the most with fifty-two percent, and emotional and educational abuse makes up the remainder.

Physical abuse comes in two forms: Physical beatings and sexual abuse. Physical includes any actions that injure a person's body (Havelin 6). Hitting, kicking slapping, punching, burning, pulling hair, and poisoning are all forms of physical abuse. The use of belts, shovels, fists, feet, whips, chains, ropes, electric cords, leather straps, canes, baseball bats, wooden sticks, brooms, scalding water, coffee and any other hot liquids have all been used in some kind of physical abuse. Physical abuse can resulting bruises, scars, and broken bones. Some may even cause death.

Sexual child abuse has no real definition. It can be characterized as "any adult that allows themselves to force or coerce a child into a sexual activity" (Understanding . . . 1). This may include fondling a child's genitals, masturbation, oral-genital contact, digital penetration, and vaginal or anal intercourse. Effects of sexual child abuse on the victim may include anxiety, guilt, fear, sexual dysfunction, withdrawal, and acting out. More long term effects may include anxiety went associating with the opposite sex or inappropriate sexual knowledge, sexual interest, or sexual acting out by the young victim. Research has led researchers to believe that child sexual abuse victims are more likely to be victims of rape or physically abusive relationships as adults. Studies also show that the majority of perpetrators are family members or are known by the child. Although it is thought that homosexual men are more commonly the perpetrators, heterosexual men are actually more likely to be the perpetrator (Understanding . . . 4).

Emotional abuse is classified as "anything that is said or done to hurt a child's feelings or self-esteem"(Havelin 7). Words are not the only type of emotional abuse. Locking a child in a closet is also emotional abuse because it causes the child to feel negatively about themselves.

Neglect is when a parent or guardian ignores or chooses not to take care of a child's physical needs. Under law, parents must provide proper care, food, shelter, clothing and medical treatment (Havelin 6). Neglect is the most common type of abuse in the United States today, happening more than twice the amount than physical abuse. Neglect happens more than physical, sexual, and emotional or educational, etc. put together!

Educational neglect is when a parent does not care enough to make sure that their child is going to school, doing their homework, and getting good grades. This hurts the child because they do not learn the importance of education and when they are adults, they may not find a good career that will help them survive.

Why does child abuse happen? There is no exact reason, but some theorists believe it can occur from political unrest and wartime affairs to the simple everyday tensions around us. We do know however that over the past twenty years, divorce rates have been rising along side the number of child abuse cases.

There are often misconceptions about child abuse. Most parents of an abused child do not "team up"(Dolan 8). Most of the time the other parent does not even know about the abuse. If the parent does know, they may not interfere because they fear desertment. Most abusers actually love their children and may even buy things in between abuse to try and make up for it.

Women are actually more often the abuser or children. This is because more children live with single mothers. Children who live with single parents are seventy-seven percent more likely to be abused or neglected than children who reside with both parents. Women are responsible for three-fourths of neglect cases, while men are responsible for about three-fourths of sexual abuses cases.

There are several reasons that researchers say are some causes for child abuse. Although there is no single explanation, researchers have come up with a few. In 1976, the American Humane Association (AHA) conducted a study of 357,533 cases of abuse and neglect and found that alcohol was involved in fourteen percent of abuse cases and eighteen percent of neglect cases. Emotionally, children of alcoholic parents feel rejected and unwanted because their parents often forget about them while drinking. These children may also feel embarrassed of their parent's problems. Usually in these cases of abuse, older children may take care of younger children. This causes emotional and behavioral problems now or in their future. It is estimated that thirty percent of child abusers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the abuse happens



Download as:   txt (13 Kb)   pdf (148.5 Kb)   docx (14 Kb)  
Continue for 10 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2010, 12). Child Abuse. Retrieved 12, 2010, from

"Child Abuse" 12 2010. 2010. 12 2010 <>.

"Child Abuse.", 12 2010. Web. 12 2010. <>.

"Child Abuse." 12, 2010. Accessed 12, 2010.