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Child Abuse Essay, Research Paper

An eight-year-old male, named B.J., had a six-year-old sister and a four-year-old brother. He is currently hospitalized due to anxiety and hyper vigilant protective activity with his younger siblings. He was also regularly masturbating in public, and suffered from developmental delays, speech and learning difficulties, suicidal threats and poor interpersonal skills. He has suffered moving from state to state, been kidnapped by his non-custodial parent, and been in two foster homes all during a bitter custody battle between his mother and father. Ms. J is suffering a great amount of guilt due to the events that B.J. tells her occurred when he was with his father. B.J. has shared some disturbing things to the staff at the hospital about the times he spent with his father. B.J. says that he is afraid of the dark because that is when terrible things happen. I can t talk about it or else they will come and get me or my little sister. Then they take us to the meeting place where they kill people. I have seen a dog and a cat and a baby killed. We didn t want to go with them but they gave us drinks to make us sleep and we had to go their (qtd. in King). His behavior toward other children suggested aggression, sexual acting out, forced eating and drinking of bizarre substances masquerades, blood and cutting had occurred when in the custody of his father. (King)

After extensive treatment, B.J. s interaction with other children improved, however, he will still need special instructions for his learning problems. He still has

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trouble at bedtime, and his mother is committed to getting ongoing therapy for the family.

This is not the treatment that an eight year old boy deservers or is entitled to. The causes of child abuse including substance abuse, failure in school, and poverty due to fatherless homes have long lasting effect on children. Although steps toward prevention have been taken, there is still a deplorable negligence toward the safety of children.

Substance abuse continues to be an enormous origin of child abuse. It is estimated that over twelve million Americans are illicit drug users (James Madison University). The most frequently abused substances that lead to child abuse include cocaine, heroin, and most of all alcohol (James Madison University). In recent reports of child abuse, substance abuse was identified in Sixty-One percent of emotional abuse cases, Fifty-Eight percent of physical abuse cases, Fifty-Three percent of neglect cases, and Fifty percent of sexual abuse cases (James Madison University). When an addiction to a substance is present, the parental responsibilities of the addicts are often severely affected, and the child is often subject to fits of rage resulting in physical or emotional abuse (James Madison University). Although, some parents are able to care for their children while addicted to a substance, most of the time the child will be left alone while the parent feeds their need for it (James Madison University).

Alcoholism is the most commonly abused substance leading to child abuse. It is estimated that drinking was identified in Thirty-Eight percent of all abuse cases (Seixas 20). Alcohol, which first serves as a depressant and then impulses, causes the parent to not realize their own strength or language toward a child and cause severe physical and emotional abuse (Seixas 20). In one family, including three girls and an alcoholic mother,

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Every Sunday the mother would dress her kids to visit their grandmother. Whenever the girls did not move fast enough, the mother would repeatedly hit them with the back of the hairbrush. She would then insist that they would not tell anyone and to say to their grandmother that the blood on their white sox resulted from them falling down (Seixas 20-21).

The effects of children being abused from alcoholism are extensive. Children being parented by alcoholics often have long term effects like increased health problems, learning disorders, anger, aggression, depression, lack of control and low social skill (James Madison University).

In order to prevent alcoholism in adults, the children have to be educated at a very young age. Schools are currently required to provide alcohol education but do to lack of useful information and the teachers lack of training in that area, their is a lack of education (Miller 35). There is not much there can be done to prevent alcoholism because there is no law saying that a parent can not drink at home, so educating the young seems to be the best solution.

Child abuse is noticeably increased in a three-day period after report cards are given. Police officers, educators, and social workers are noticing that bad report cards can trigger a parent into inflicting emotional, physical and even sexual abuse upon the child. There are no specific statistics, but in Cobb county Georgia, over a two-year period, they found that the child abuse reports doubled within a three-day period of the report cards being issued (Romeo).

There are underlying reasons for parents to abuse their children after a bad report

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from school. These reports often are looked upon by the parent as a reflection of their own work (Romeo). Many parents take bad grades as a personal affront (qtd. in Toufexis). Parents that are triggered by bad report cards often suffer from low self-esteem, and may emotionally abuse their children by calling them dumb and stupid (Romeo).

In Florida, a father was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for raping his eight-year-old daughter for bringing home a bad report card. He told her that he would rape her four hundred times if she ever did it again (Romeo).

In order to prevent this, teachers must become more aware of the patterns in student behavior and physical appearance proceeding the time the report cards are given. Instead of giving one report of grades very sporadically, they can give weekly reports, lessening the blow of disappointment to the parent (Toufexis). There is also child welfare groups recognizing and aiding this problem. The Child Abuse Prevention Council in Houston has created newspaper ads, TV and radio announcements, and school flyers sent home with report cards all giving the same message: raising voices or fists is not the answer to raising grades (Toufexis).

Poverty and fatherless homes is becoming more and more a cause of abuse and problem children, Much of the increase in poverty may be a resulting the breakdown of the traditional family (Elmer-Dewitt). Due to the recent commonplace act of divorce and a rise in teen-pregnancy, one quarter of children are living in single parented homes (Elmer-Dewitt).

The US Department of Health and Human Services states that there were over one

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Million documented child abuse cases in 1990 (Elmer-Dewitt). In 1983, sixty percent of perpetrators were women with sole custody (Elmer-Dewitt). These children that are living in fatherless homes are greatly affected due to the constant neglect of a father. Shockingly, eighty-five percent of children with behavior disorders, seventy-one percent of all high school dropouts, and eight-five percent of youths in prison all were raised in fatherless homes (Birks). It is estimated that eighteen million children live in single-parented homes and nearly seventy-five percent of them will experience poverty (Birks). Due to poverty and lack of health care sixty percent of babies have been neglected shots against the most common childhood diseases (Elmer-Dewitt).

The Carnegie Foundation of New York, founded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, has had no shortage of recommendations to prevent poverty from affecting children (Elmer-Dewitt). They have pressed for better parental instruction to four-month parental leave for expectant mothers (Elmer Dewitt). The founder is David Hamburg, and he has political connections such and Bill and Hillary Clinton. He plans on being a pebble in the national shoe until something is done (Elmer-Dewitt). The bottom line is lack of stimulation and nurturing at an early age can derail development (Elmer-Dewitt).

The solutions and and preventions are there, but it is up to society to implement them on a higher scale. Substance abuse, bad reports, poverty and single parented homes are all major causes of child abuse that have visible solutions. Abused children and adolescents are at risk for serious behavioral and emotional disorders, development disorders, and learning problems (Kaplan 13). To turn away from these children would be a direct insult to the future leaders of this country.

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