One of the major problem which faces our society today is child abuse. Sometimesyou wonder are your children safe from child abuse despite a lot of reportsabout child abuse from newspaper and TV news. Child abuse is a nationalepidemic and it is happening almost in everywhere. At this instant, it isthreatening the safety and well-beingof some children across the nation. However, public still lack the awarenessregarding child abuse as this problem is beyond their knowledge.
Though thereis not much we can do, it’s still sad to think that someone would intentionallyhurt a child. According to American Academy of Pediatrics (1991), there are roughlythree million cases of child abuse and neglect involving almost 5.5 millionchildren are reported each year and many more cases are unreported orundetected, often because the victims are afraid to tell somebody who can help.In order to prevent child abuse from happening anymore, we must increase theawareness of the issue itself. So, here come the question, what exactly is childabuse? While there is no single definition of child abuse, the definition fromRadford L is the most comprehensive. Child abuse is any action by anotherperson (adult or child) that causes significant harm to a child (Radford L,2011). It can be categories to four different types of abuse which arephysical, sexual, emotional or neglect.
First, physical abuse of a child can happenwhen any non-accidental physical damages such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts is done to a child because of beating, hairpulling, kicking, throwing, shoving, burning and many others that can causephysical damage by parents or caregivers (Childhelp.org, n.d). Moreover, whenthe child is injured it is consider abuse does not matter if parents orcaregivers didn’t mean to cause injuries to them. Based on the definition fromChildhelp.org for sexual abuse, it occurs when a child is used by an adult forsexual purpose of sexual acts (Childhelp.
org, n.d). In addition, when a childis forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities, it can also beconsidered sexual abuse.
Furthermore, it can also happen when a child is usedfor sexual gratification or excitement by another child who is older or morepowerful. After all, sexual abuse does not have to be physical contact and itcan happen online. Sometimes the child doesn’t know that what’s happening tothem is abuse. They may not even know that it’s something wrong. Or they may beafraid to speak out to other people. Then it is emotional abuse which canhappen when a parent or caregiver harm a child’s mental and social development(Childhelp.
org, n.d). It can happen when parents or caregivers are alwaysterrorizing, shaming, or humiliating their children so that their feeling canbe hurt. It is often difficult to prove because it causes a pattern of behaviorthat causes damage over time even though there is only one incident has beencommitted. When a child is put in danger intentionally or not protected from physical or emotionalharm, this result in emotional abuse. Victims from emotional abuse may not getthe attention and care they need from their parents. Besides that, child neglectis also one of the common form of abuse. It is the ongoing failure to providecare, supervision, affection, and support needed for a child’s health, safety,and well-being.
(Horwath,2017). Children need enough care from theirparents or caregivers so that they can be healthy and there is enoughsupervision to be safe. Adults must provide safe shelter, clothing, food,drink, and basic needs for the children.
Furthermore, a child who’s neglected will often suffer from other abuseas well because these abuses are always related. It is important to say thatchild neglect is harmful and can cause serious or long-term damage and evendeath to the children. Obviously, child abuse causes harmful consequences tothe children’s development and family life. They are still children and stillhave a long way to go in their life so they should not suffer from child abuseand leave traces of damages in their life.
For this reason, all community mustcooperate and prevent this action from happening in children’s lives again.This paper reviews consequences faced by victims in term of physical damage,psychological disorder, behavioral changes and economical effects from childabuse and government, parents, school, and community’s roles in preventingchild abuse and ways to solve it after it happened. Child abuse results in long-lastingphysical and emotional damage and they may carry the scars for the rest oftheir lives. Therefore, Child abuse should be taken seriously and preventivemeasures should be carried out immediately to stop child abuse.
It is easier tostop child abuse happening at the beginning than to repair the damage done tothe child after child abuse happened. Government plays an important role inchild abuse prevention. Not only provides a variety of prevention services,government always sponsors prevention activities. Some of the preventionactivities are prepared for everyone, for example, Public Service Announcement(PSAs) had conducted many prevention activities to increase public awarenessabout child maltreatment such as public awareness campaigns, skill-basedcurricular, parent education programs, home visiting programs, leadershipprograms, parent support groups, and family resources centre (U.S. Departmentof Health and Human Services,2013). Others are specifically designed forfamilies who fall into the highest-risk group for child abuse and neglect.
Keyof success for those prevention activities is the activities should be based onresearch rather than depending on assumptions (Kamerman & Kahn, 1993). Thisincreases the confident of public towards the programs and funding of theprograms become easier. Besides, parents should always be involved in everyprogress of the activities including planning, evaluating and implementing toincrease the effectiveness of the activities since parents are the closestperson to the children. Besidesfrom providing prevention activities, the punishment for child abuser is alsoequally important in the prevention of child abuse. As Yusnany (2007.p.52)point out, Malaysia has zero tolerance for child abuse. The government ofMalaysia has passed the Domestic Violence Act 1994 and the Child Act 2001 toprevent child abuse and to make sure the child abuser receives deservedpunishment.
Penal Code and the Evidence of Child Witness Act 2007 are otherlaws that related to the case of child abuse. The government should alsoenforce existing law to deter criminals from child abusing. For examples, thechild abuser should be punished for longer jail period and maximum lashes ofthe cane. Legal action will also be taken for a parent to intentionally ornegligently injure a child physically or psychologically.
In extreme cases, theparent may be barred from approaching the child or complete termination ofparental rights to protect the child from abuse. Asthe caretaker of the children, the parents are the greatest support to theirchildren. Parents have a duty to protect their child from any kind of harm.However, a child may be injured due to the carelessness or lack of attentionfrom their parents. To prevent children from child abuse or recognize childabuse as early as possible before the situation worsening, parents shouldmonitor and involve in their children’s lives and teach them rules of safety toprevent them from becoming victim of child abuse (Natasha Daniels,2015). Forexample, the parents could take part in their child’s daily activities, sport teamor clubs and show more concerns towards their child. Furthermore, they shouldalways be wary by checking the background and abuse policies of theorganisation to ensure that the organisation is safe and give suggestions tothe organisation when they feel something is not right about the organisation.
The more time the parents spend into their child’s activities, the higherchance the children are safe from child abuse.The parents also need tocommunicate with their child frequently and encourage them to tell someone ifthey are abused. The parents should teach the children about their rights to besafe from abuse and it is not their fault if they are abused (Avellar, 2013).Hence, the children are more likely to report an offender. Children who are victimsof child abuse often come with significant signs or changes in behaviour ormood, the parents must know some common signs of abuse and make a report ifthey suspect their child are abused. The parents may volunteer at a local childabuse program to get more information about child abuse and how to prevent it.
According to Smith(2017), some parents never learned the good parenting skills especially teenparents who might have no idea about how much care the children need.Sometimes, the parent themselves may become the child abuser especially thoseparents who are a victim of child abuse, they only know how to raise the childthe way they are raised. Those parents really need to educate themselves byimproving their parenting skills and learn about alternative ways to disciplinetheir child besides from hitting them. Admitting into anger management course,family support and life skills training programs will greatly improve theirparenting skills (Public Legal Education, 2007).On the other hand, the schoolsalso play an essential role in protecting children from abuse. It is the dutyof the school to create safe, violence free environments free from child abusefor the children.
For some students, school is a safer place than home. Theteacher should give attention to high risk children who parents have poorparenting skills, family violence problems, alcohol and drug problems, orchildren with disabilities or communication (Alaine Fagin,1989). The teachershave regular contact with children, so they should be trained to identify signsof abuse and neglect and report to the authorities if the child is suspected tobe a victim of child abuse. The teachers have to interact with the children andlet them know you respect them to let the children feel comfortable to talk tothe teacher if they are abused in school. The teachers could also meet withparents to understand the situation in the children’s family and givesuggestions to the parents to reduce the chance of child abuse and neglect.Appropriate discipline is encouraged and schools should not mete out physicalpunishment to children to avoid the children legitimise violent action.Schools should ensurethat all adults who work in the school including volunteers do not have apropensity of violence and check their background to ensure they do not haveany criminal record and are not potential child abuser.
The school should havea proper procedure for checking on staff before they are permitted to contactwith children. If a member of school staff is suspected of abusing a child,that school staff should be quarantined before the investigation is completed(Alaine Fagin,1989). As well as havingchild protection procedures in place, schools should teach the child aboutbasic knowledge to protect themselves from harm such as refrain from riskybehaviour, avoid any inappropriate physical contact with adults, how to dealwith study stress and prevent any inappropriate relationships at school (AlaneFagin,1989). The children need to be educated with information about childabuse and how to get help. Teach students about child development and parentingso they become parents less likely to abuse their children is one of theeffective measures to prevent child abuse at early stage.Community is responsibleto counter child abuse and report abuse and neglect cases to the department incharge once discovered. The community should know the signs of child abuse bylooking for changes in the child or family in trouble such as poverty, familyviolence or divorce (Sam Davidson,2016).
Everyone in the community should getto know their neighbours and try to reach out to children in the community.Members of the community should offer to help a family under stress by offeringto babysit, help with chores or suggest resources that can help if the problemsare beyond their abilities. These small acts could bring a huge change to thefamily. Community needs to get involved in outreach programs such as parentingclasses, child development education and resources as to aware of this problem.(Sam Davidson,2016). Moreover, the community should keep their neighbourhoodsafe by starting a Neighbourhood Watch event to promote relationship betweenneighbours while maintaining the safety of the neighbourhood and children. According to U.
S.Department of Health and Human Services (2004), a Blue Ribbon Campaign could behold by the community to raise the awareness of the public on the issues ofchild abuse. In 1989, Bonnie W. Finney of Virginia tied a blue ribbon to theantenna of her van to remind other people the tragic story behind the death ofher grandson because of child abuse. Blue colour was chosen to remind herselfof the bruised bodies of her grandson. Since then, the Blue Ribbon Campaign hasbeen participated by millions of people across the world by wearing the blueribbons and joining in community activities to help prevent child abuse intheir community and provide support to the needed families. As shown above, child abuse is a worldwide problemaffecting children.
There are different types of child abuse which are physicalabuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and child neglect. As you can see childabuse can cause negative effects in many ways which cause physical damages,psychological disorder, behavioral changes, and economical effect. It isimportant to note that victims from child abuse will suffer from severe andlong term physical damage. Follow by physical damages is psychological disorderwhich cause a life-time consequence to the children because it leaves ahorrible memory in their mind. With that horrible memory, their behavior willchange as they grow older. Child abuse also causes economical effect as the economicburden result from child abuse is high. On the other hand, it also proves thatit is not necessary a stranger that carries out the abuses, it’s often thefamily or the closed one.
Any abuse will have a scar on the life of the child.Physical abuse may leave a lifetime mark on their body but it is psychologythat has the most damages in their life especially if they are abuse by someonethey trust and rely on. Children need to live in a world without abuse.
Theyneed to be happy and enjoy their childhood. However, very few can do so. Theprevailing myth which is a misleading fallacy is that children are only abusedif it is physical. Yet it is other abuse like sexual abuse or emotional abusethat cause the most damage to the victims. It is also easy to forget thatemotional abuse and child neglect will have serious and, even more, damagingimpact on the child. Besides, many people believe that the only abuser are badpeople. A lot of people have protected their children from these bad people buthave left them in the hand of parents and guardians that are real monsters.Most parents that were abused when young could follow what their parents haddone to them to their children.
This is not because they have the intention toabuse but they don’t know about other ways in parenting their children. Moreover,many people believe that abuse will not happen in rich or in other term goodfamilies. However, the truth is that they are hiding a lot on the inside andnever reveal it. In order to make the world a peaceful and safe place to livefor children we must stop child abuse with any necessary means.
We must takecare of our children with best of our ability and with utmost efficiency andstrongly oppose, protest and fight against child abuse and the abusers. Undeniably,every individual must contribute in preventing child abuse from happeninganymore. In fact, the roles of government, parents, schools, and community inpreventing child abuse is very important. Without government helps in makingall those policy and support child welfare organization, there is nopossibility that child abuse can be stopped. People will just abuse theirchildren and still can get away with it because they know they won’t be punished.Furthermore, funding on child welfare organization would provide support forthose in need of child welfare assistant and prevent them from child abuse.
Parentswould be the most important factor to prevent child abuse as they are theclosest to their children. It is their job to make sure their children areliving safe and it is their responsibility to take good care of the children. Childrensend the most time in school follow by home hence schools also have theresponsibility to protect children from child abuse. As we know that childrenof the same age could be one of the abuser, the educator must pay attention tochildren activity and recognize the signs of child abuse. There is no deniedthat community can help prevent child abuse. The community must look for signsof child abuse if they suspect any inappropriate family activity of behavior ofthe children.
After all, it might not easy to stop it all at once but with thehelp of everyone, one day our children will be safe from all these abuses andlive a happy and safe life.