Child abuse is involved in various forms of maltreatment that includes physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect towards the child. It can be defined as a form of maltreatment, as a recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation. It is important to comprehend the damage inflicted on the child and their future as these forms of abuse do come with long-term complications. These include physical disabilities, future substance abuse, high-risk behaviors, and psychological damage. Abused children often become broken, hollow and bitter, with mental consequences that last long after the physical wounds have healed
.Child abuse is punishable depending on the severity of the abuse and if the abuser is charged on a criminal or civil level. Child abuse can be referred to as any misconduct or absence of activity that harms the child or places them at risk. Child abuse is illegal which laws that prohibit the abuse of a child those are at the federal, national, and local level throughout the United States. The charges include, imprisonment, fines, registration as a sex offender, and restrictions on probation and parole.
Childhood serves as the foundation for growth, development, and socialization. Throughout adolescence, they are taught how to be functioning members of society. Much of the socializing of children, specifically in their earliest years, comes at the palms of household members. However, it is unfortunate, the messages conveyed to and the moves in opposition to adolescents by their families are now not constantly the high quality building blocks for which one would hope. There are many elements that are related with child abuse. Some of the common explanations are parent–child interaction, past abuse in the family through social learning, situational factors, and the supporting of physical punishment due to the lack of cultural knowledge after immigrating to the United States. These children who are suffering repeated trauma can feel lonely, scared, worthless and unloved, which is the opposite of what a child should feel in the custody of their caregivers parents, and/or guardians. Children can be described as vulnerable, moldable, and easily influenced as they are developing physiologically and psychologically. The quality of upbringing and care can influence the child’s future greatly as they receive the support from their parent or guardian throughout their development. The negative physical and psychological affects that child victims go through especially as they develop in life. A factor shows how this can impair their physical development as their body is being physically harmed while growing, certain injuries do not heal properly.
Physical abuse can be described as when a child is deliberately physically harmed or put in danger of damage by someone else. This may include, hitting, slapping, shaking, throwing, strangling, and poisoning. As these are visible symptoms, others are able to notice them and evaluate closely if the child is being abused at home. According to the United States Children’s Bureau, “The FFY 2017 data show, three-quarters (74.9%) of victims are neglected, 18.3 percent are physically abused, and 8.6 percent are sexually abused,” (United States. Children\’s Bureau. 2018). The psychological effects impact their lives in the long run. An example from the textbook was how physical abuse can lead to criminal and violent behavior as a long-term consequence as well. It was shown how some adults with past criminal and/or violent behavior had some form of abuse or neglect. “Childhood abuse is positively related to adult depression, aggression, hostility, anger, fear, anxiety disorders, and personality disorder,” (Springer, Sheridan, Kuo, & Carnes, 2003). As well as victims of abuse can been seen more likely to develop symptoms of antisocial personality disorder, which did not surprise me due to the traumatic events that went through with the person/people they are supposed to love and trust the most. Reported child abuse is an important procedure one must have knowledge of, especially if employed with a Title IV duty, also known as mandated reporters. This is where authorities, school faculty, and child protective services get involved in an investigation. The child is taken away from the suspected abuser and given a full physical examination to determine any evidence of physical abuse. Physical injuries and broken bones in poorly treated homes to assess child abuse raise a red flag of suspicion of abuse, but child abuse is measured by variables that are sometimes unknown. Specific symptoms looked for would also be any injury to a young, perambulatory infant, including bruises, mouth injuries, fractures, and intracranial or abdominal injury. Not only can physical abuse and violence negatively impact a child as an individual but it can also impact their future interactions with their families as well which can be evaluated through the social learning theory. The social learning theory in the context of family violence stresses that if children are abused or see abuse (toward siblings or a parent), those interactions and violent family members become the representations and role models for their future familial interactions. Children can interpret these behaviors as appropriate by following their parents/guardians’ actions and form of parenting. “Every 9 minutes, government authorities respond to another report of child sexual abuse,” (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 2017). Sexual abuse towards a child is any sexual contact with a child, for example, caressing, oral-genital contact, sexual intercourse, exposing child victim to an unwanted sexual activity, or exposure to child pornography. The other activities those incorporate as sexual abuse by an adult, for example, touching the child\’s genital area, incest, rape, assault, and exposure through prostitution or the creation of pornography.
Lewis, McElroy, Harlaar, & Runyun, conducted a study in making a comparison in internalizing and externalizing behavior problems between subjects that have a history of sexual abuse and those with history of abuse except sexual abuse. Gender was examined on a longitudinal study whether it moderated problems as time passed. Discoveries showed essentially a greater number of issues in the child sexual abuse group than the abused group without sexual abuse after some time. Disguising issues were higher for sexually abused boys contrasted with girls. For the sexually abused girls, disguising issues, however not externalizing issues increased with age comparative with boys. This was similar among abused however not sexually abused children.“Children exposed to sexual abuse are at risk for developing several psychological and behavioral difficulties during adulthood,” (Cantón-Cortés, Cantòn, & Cortés, 2019). The upbringing and experiences an individual lives through does affect the outcome of their future to the extent of their success or milestones completed. Through studies, we are able to connect the trauma children go through when sexually abused and how their psychological state is affected in adulthood. As stated in the findings of Springer, Sheridan, Kuo, & Carnes, 2003, “At least 3 meta-analyses on the effects of childhood sexual abuse find clear and convincing evidence of a link between such abuse and a host of adult psychological symptoms,”(Springer, Sheridan, Kuo, & Carnes, 2003). This demonstrates that there definitely are factors the impact the psychological state of victims as they grow into adults.
Showing an alarming number of disturbances as adults, victims of sexual abuse can experience a strong dislike of sex or experience sexual disorders, such as dysfunctional sexual behavior. According to the Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, sexual dysfunction is defined as, \”the inability of a person to experience sexual arousal or to achieve sexual satisfaction under appropriate circumstances, as a result of either physical disorder or, more commonly, psychological problems,\” (Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, 2018). The long-term effects that sexual abuse can have on a child can create difficulties and obstacles for the victim as they grow into adulthood. These include flashbacks, poor cooping skills, exaggerated stress responses, and dysfunctional social skills. Poor social and coping skills can affect the victim’s social and emotional state of mind. Which incorporates with why child victims continue to be concealing their sexual abuse because the abused person feels ashamed of the abuse and is unaware of it because they often think it was their fault. Most keep this abuse concealed while being filled with fear of being seen differently, fear of the blame being put on them, and/or being attacked again.
It is important for the child victim to be immediately removed from their home, away from the abuser, and evaluated forensically. This is important as gathering evidence from the victim and check how much harm was done on the victim. Treatment is the next step, as the child will be trying their best to process the trauma they have experienced.