Child the future (2005). This is important because it

Child abuse
is a global problem deeply rooted in cultural, economic and social practices. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
child abuse is defined as “Any act or series of acts of commission or omission
by a parent or caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of
harm to a child.” More Specifically, physical abuse is the infliction
of bodily injury upon a child that is not accidental. In the case of physical
abuse, the majority of children are helpless to do anything about it because
they are under the guidance of their caretakers. Therefore, the impact of child
abuse moves far beyond childhood, as children are left scarred from tragic
physical violence. As children grow up, they are taught how to become active members
of the society they reside and if they grow up experiencing abuse, this will
greatly impact how they socialize in the world. Therefore, it is important to understand
the problem that physical abuse introduces, its impact on children in the present
and the potential impact in their futures.

According to researcher Cichetti, about one third of
children who were abused as children will subject their own kids to abuse in
the future (2005). This is important because it introduces a cycle of abuse
that has the potential to impact generations to come. It is important to understand
this cycle because if all a child grows up being abuses, they will grow a
distorted image of what it looks like to be cared for. Thus, there is high potential
to take their own culminating experience in an abusive household and pass it on
to their children (Gelles, 1999). There is a failure of the mother, father or caregiver to parent with
love and respect; there may be marital and/or substance abuse problems, or
other issues. However, the unsuspecting child has no frame of reference, and
he/she depends on his/her caregiver for survival (Cicchetti, 2005). Children have
a natural instinct to look for affection, however, in an abusive home, children
get caught up in their abuser’s actions and therefore, a child cannot reconcile
the fact that the people who are supposed to be loving and caring for them are
actually abusing them. As a child gets older, they may feel worthless, filled
with shame and self-hate, but what they do not realize is that they have
been blackmailed by their abusers that somehow by responding to
innocent needs for affection, they were the cause of their own abuse (Klevins,
2007).

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            According to
researcher Klevins J,
Whitaker “Children who are victims of psychological
abuse experience more emotional problems than children who are not victims of
this type of maltreatment” (2007, p.12). Children who have been abused may
shows signs of an inability to love themselves or others and this stems from
the lack of experience love themselves. If a child grows up in an environment prone
to physical abuse, there is a lack of understand of what it truly means to be
loved. This translates into a child’s adult life because the lack of stability
they receive at home will impact how they are able to relation with others
(Kelvins, 2007). These individuals struggle with touching, intimacy and closeness,
because it subconsciously reminds them of closeness in an abusive regard. Therefore,
a lack of trust develops in most growing relationships. They may be angry individuals who are
filled with rage, anxiety, and a variety of fears; they are often aggressive,
disruptive, and depressed (Goldberg, 2013). Unfortunately, many abused children
suffer from flashback of situation they’ve experienced, resulting in a lack of
sleep which affect how a child grows physically. As they grow older, this has
the potential to turn into drug and alcohol problems to try and erase the
memories that have taunted them for so long. Posttraumatic stress disorder and
antisocial personality disorder are both typical among maltreated children (Widom,
1999). Research has proven that many children who are abused have so much psychosocial
damage, making it impossible to live a “normal” life (Hogelin, 2013). Normal in
this regard would mean not having to deal everyday with the affects that
physical abuse has on the mind. Children victim to child abuse are more likely
to participate in high risk behavior like drug use, the use of tobacco and
sexual behaviors (Gelles, 1999). As children grow older, they are more likely
to be arrested, end up homeless and are less likely to defend themselves in
conflicting situations. Medically, abused children likely will experience
health problems due to the high frequency of physical injuries they receive. In
addition, abused children experience a great deal of emotional turmoil and
stress, which can also have a significant impact on their physical condition (Kessler,
1994). Unfortunately, these health problems are likely to continue occurring
into adulthood. Some of these longer-lasting health problems include headaches;
eating problems, chronic pain in the back, stomach, chest, and genital areas. Researchers
have noted that abused children may experience neurological impairment and
problems with intellectual functioning, while others have found a correlation
between abuse and heart, lung, and liver disease, as well as cancer (Kessler,
1994).

             In considering how much child
abuse occurs in the United States, issues arise in trying to detect the legitimacy
of these occurrences. For
example, according to researcher Whitaker, it has been estimated that the annual incidence of
abuse is between 15 and 40 cases per 1,000 children (2007). Thus, approximately
one million children become victims every year and more than 1,200 die as a
result of abuse (Hymel, 2006). Child abuse is hard to track because many cases are failed to be
reported. Children who are abused are unlikely to report their victimization
because they may not know any better. Although they are being physically abuses,
many times their abusers are all a child has as a caregiver. A child still
needs a home, food, clothing and other necessity that their abusive caregivers
can offer that a child may still love their caregiver. As a result, often
times, a child will not report that they are being abused because they do not
want to see their family taken away, which would lead to other tough situations
they believe may be worse than their current situation (Hymel, 2006). Further,
child abuse can be disguised as a true injury, because children have a tendency
to get physical, without knowing their limitations, leading to injuries that
look harmless. In other cases, when child abuse is reported, social service
agencies may not follow up with the case for a few reasons; parents can lie
about what is going on to protect themselves from potentially being jailed.
Another instance is social service have large caseloads that they may deem more
“urgent” than a child abuse report that may deem false.

In one study, researchers found that
12.5 percent of children in the United States have experienced a maltreatment
by the age of eighteen, based on data that was gathered between 2004 and 2011
(Velez, 2014). This study says that the amount of children who have been maltreatment
during their childhood is larger than those who have been maltreated in a given
year (Velez, 2014). It is confirmed that every year, maltreatment occurs 1 in
100 children and of the 5.7 million confirmed cases that was registered in a
national database over the study period, about 80 percent were cases of neglect,
not abuse (Velez, 2014). According to the study, “The report showed a higher
percentage of maltreatment among girls than boys, with 13 percent of girls
experiencing maltreatment, compared with 12 percent of boys. The researchers
also found that, out of all racial and ethnic groups, the highest percentage of
maltreated kids occurred among black children, with one in five experiencing
maltreatment” (Velez, 2014, p. 1). Physical abuse of children has been linked
with serious health problems. The researchers said, “Childhood maltreatment is
associated with significantly higher rates of mortality, obesity and human
immunodeficiency virus HIV infection” (Velez, 2014).  Prior studies have shown that childhood abuse has
the capacity to shrink important parts of the brain that help with a child’s reasoning.
As a result, this can affect a child’s future susceptibility to certain
psychiatric disorders, such as depression or drug addiction. Velez states,
“Because child maltreatment is also a risk factor for poor mental and physical
health outcomes throughout the life course, the results of this study provide
valuable epidemiologic information” (2014).  This maltreatment imposes a financial burden
on society; the child maltreatment that occurs in one year in the United States
costs the nation $124 billion over the victims’ lifetimes, according to a
2012 report from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2014).

Research in
this field began by documenting broad group differences and correlations associated
with maltreatment rates and child maltreatment. As researcher Ciccheti suggests,
we must start to use a more ecological perspective that includes all levels of
analysis (2005). These third-generation studies using more complex analyses and
multiple methods will help us more fully understand the context within which
child abuse happens (Johnson, 1995). Such studies may clarify nonlinear
processes of risk and protective factors of child abuse, which in turn can
further inform risk for further victimization and how maltreatment may unfold
across the lifespan. Such research also has important implications for clinical
practice with survivors of child maltreatment because it builds a base of
knowledge to identify resources for interventions that are empowering and build
on survivors’ strengths. Children change a lot during the
course of development from infancy to adolescence, therefore, examining child
victimization within a developmental perspective will shed light on changes in
individual and environmental risk factors over time. According to the
developmental psychopathology and developmental traumatology perspectives,
researchers need to be mindful of how trauma might disrupt normal development
in multiple domains of functioning as well as different physiological systems (Johnson,
2005) Characteristics that place children at risk of certain types of
maltreatment may vary as a function of their developmental stage. Risk of exposure
to different types of maltreatment may change as children assert greater
independence from caregivers. The trauma exposure may also differentially
impact various areas of functioning, depending on the timing of the
developmental process. However, further research is needed to minimize risk for
children at all stages of development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Works Cited

 

Cicchetti, D.,
& Toth, S.L. (2005). Child Maltreatment. Annual Review of Clinical
Psychology, 1, 409-438.doi: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.1.102803.144029

Gelles RJ. Family violence. In: Hampton
RL (ed). Family Violence: Prevention and Treatment. 2nd ed. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage Publications; 1999: 1-32.

 

Goldberg RT. Child abuse, Depression,
and Chronic pain. Clin J Pain. 1994;10:277–81.

Hogelin JM. To Prevent and to Protect: The Reporting of
Child Abuse by Educators. Brigham Young University Education & Law
Journal. 2013;2013(2):225-252.

Velez, Mandy. “1 In 8 U.S. Children Experience Neglect,
Emotional or Physical Abuse.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 3
June 2014,
www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/03/us-children-emotional-physical-abuse_n_5440277.html.

Hymel KP; Comitte on Child Abuse and Neglect. When is Lack
of Supervision Neglect? Pediatrics. 2006;118:1296-1298.

Johnson
JM. Horror Stories and the Construction of Child Abuse. In: Best J (ed). Images of Issues: Typifying Contemporary Social
Problems. 2nd ed. New York, NY:
Aldine De Gruyter; 1995: 5-19.

Kessler RC, Magee WJ. Childhood Family Violence and Adult
Recurrent Depression. J Health Social Behavior. 1994;35:13–27.  

Klevins J, Whitaker DJ. Primary Prevention of Child Physical Abuse and
Neglect: Gaps and Promising Directions. Child Maltreatment.  2007;12:364-377

 

Myers JEB. A Short History of Child Protection in
America. Family Law Quarterly. 2008;42(3):449-463.

Widom CS. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Abuse and Neglected
Children Grown UP. Am J Psychiatry. 1999;156:1223–9.  

Violence Prevention.
(2017, April 17). Retrieved December 08, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/index.html