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Child Abuse

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Everyday three children in the United States are murdered by a parent or caretaker. 565,000 children are seriously injured while 18,000 are permanently disabled every year due to child abuse. Three million children were reported as victims of child abuse and neglect in 1999 in the United States. Child abuse kills more children in America than does accidental falls, choking on food, suffocation, or fires in the home (Newton). As if these statistics weren't horrifying enough, they are inaccurate in relaying the actual number of children that have fallen victim to child abuse in the United States.

The sad reality is child abuse is severely underreported in the United States. Most abused and neglected children never come to the attention of government officials. Victims almost never speak of their abuse for fear of retaliation from their perpetrator (Newton). Even if the abuse has been reported, the victim will often deny the offense took place. This is especially prevalent in cases of abuse, in which the victim shows no physical injury (Thompson). The main reason children do not speak of their abuse or just flatly deny that their abuse had occurred is due to their lack of comfort within the situation. It is very uncomfortable for a child to accuse a parent or caretaker of abuse or neglect. The child can also feel an intense amount of shame and can become very withdrawn and secretive, in regards to their abuse. It is much easier for the child to take the abuse and allow their cries to go unanswered.

The most common pattern of abuse is a child victimized by a female parent acting alone. However, in contrast, male parents acting alone are identified as the perpetrators for the highest percentage of sexual abuse victims. According to the data that I have researched, on average, sixty-two percent of child abuse perpetrators are females that are generally, under the age of thirty. While men accounted for the remaining thirty-eight percent. However, men that abuse their children are generally over the age of thirty (Ellison). It is also common for an adult that had been abused as a child, to go forth and abuse their own children. Children are vulnerable creatures, children are supposed to learn everything they need to survive from their parents or caretakers. Abusive parents provide the exact opposite of what a child needs. Instead of teaching and nurturing growth, they distort and destroy. Leaving the child an emotional wreck with a vast array of potential difficulties in adulthood stemming from their childhood traumas.

The definitions of child abuse and neglect for the state of NJ are as follows: inflicts or allows to be inflicted and creates or allows to be created a substantial or ongoing risk. The following are the categories of maltreatment defined in statue:



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