CHILD MISTREATMENT AND NEGLECT
ChildMistreatment and Neglect
At its minimum, child neglect and abuse is any action or failure toact by a person, which results in the emotional harm, sexualexploitation or abuse, or severe bodily harm in a child. Moreover, itextends to the action or failure to react to the mistreatment,manipulation, or mishandling of a child, which presents an impendingthreat of harm or threatens the child’s well-being. The abuse cantake the form of neglect, physical abuse, sexual exploitation, oremotional abuse (Taillieu, Brownridge, Sareen, & Afifi, 2016).Neglect denotes the failure of a caretaker, parent, or guardian toprovide the necessary or essential needs of a child, for example,failure to provide food, shelter, appropriate supervision, education,and attention. Report from Children’s Bureau (2016) shows thatroughly 3.2 million kids were the subjects of a minimum of one ChildProtective Services (CPS) report in 2014 (either received aninvestigation or alternative response) with 702,000 children subjectsof neglect and abuse. The same year also saw an estimated 1,580children die from maltreatment (Children’s Bureau, 2016). In thesame year, 2.9 million kids from 47 states obtained preventionservices while roughly 1.3 million obtained post-response services(Children’s Bureau, 2016). The data from the Children’s Bureaushows that child abuse and neglect is a major community healthconcern that requires comprehensive and critical consideration. Thus,the prevalence of childhood neglect and maltreatment is a severecommunity or public health problem, which needs critical interventionand the development of approaches to understanding its cause andcauses especially those impacting on the quality of life and harmonyin societies.
One aspect which makes child neglect and abuse so prevalent is therelationship between victims and perpetrators. Statistics fromChildren’s Bureau (2016) highlight that approximately 91.6% of kidsare abused or mistreated by a parent who either acts alone, togetherwith a spouse or with other people. The same data shows that roughly13% of children falls victims to a perpetrator who is not theirparent. This has made it difficult to identify cases of abuse ordevelop comprehensive intervention approaches to tackle the vice. Itis imperative to note that almost 75% of victims do not have a priorhistory of abuse, which means that the problem keeps on aggravating.The prevalence of the problem is also escalated by issues of domesticviolence, substance abuse by parents or guardians, lack of support orliving a stressful life in the case of a parent, untreatedpsychological illnesses, failure by parents to cultivate effectiveparenting skills. The factors highlight the importance of effectivelyunderstanding or developing decent techniques to nurture children.
Data on child abuse and neglect shows that the vice is a seriouspublic health concern across America with devastating effects onchildren annually, approximately three million cases of childrenneglect or abuse are reported (Children’s Bureau, 2016). Physicaland sexual abuse and neglect have been the most prevalent anddiscussed forms of child abuse thus, its consequences are widelydeliberated. Although emotional abuse is a severe health problem withingrained sequelae, it has seen little research especially on itseffect on psychological health. In this regards, it is essential tohighlight and research on all forms of child abuse in a balancedmanner to ensure the development of effective interventiontechniques. All forms of abuse lead to a variety of mental disordersand symptoms such as depression, trauma, substance abuse,impulsivity, dissociation, and increased aggression later in life.Studies by Koizumi and Takagishi (2014), Norman et al. (2012), Youngand Widom (2014) show that child abuse especially emotional abusedisrupts their usual process of emotional development. Mostperpetrators show more negative emotion and less positive sentimentsthan non-abusive people, mostly arising from violence, substanceabuse, stressful life, and social and economic depravity. Moreover,these parents tend to isolate themselves and their children frominteracting with other people or kids, which provides the childrenwith fewer or inhibitive models of emotional communication.
Abused kids receive harsh or inconsistent caregiving, which hindersthem from predicting their behaviors or consequences. For instance,Young and Widom (2014) assert that maltreated children show deficitsin emotional attachment, comprehension, recognition, andinteractions. This means that the victims develop dissociativetendencies and express little or no positive emotions, whichcomplicates their lives. Taillieu et al. (2016) opine that thehindered emotional development in these children aggravates intoaggression, depression, impulsivity, and other mental disordersmaking the victims more capable of abusing their kids in future.Taillieu et al. (2016) contend that the mistreatment of children notonly weakens their normal psychological development, but it alsocreates long-term effects on behavior, social, and cognitioninteraction or development. It is critical to note that kids exposedto neglect, abuse, and manipulation become depressed, which resultsfrom the traumatic experiences they encounter. These, according toNorman et al. (2012), have negative effects on the immune,physiological, neuroendocrine, and neurotransmitter systems.
Conclusively, child neglect and maltreatment is a serious publichealth problem that requires comprehensive consideration andintervention. Studies by Koizumi and Takagishi (2014) and Young andWidom (2014) show that victims of abuse are less accurate inprocessing positive images, show deficits in positive emotions,suffer from emotional, mental, and psychological conditions whichaggravate later in life. In fact, because of the traumaticexperiences that the victims undergo as children, they have atendency to show aggressive, dissociative, impulsive, and mentalbreakdown (stress and depression) making them more culpable of beingperpetrators. In this regards, it is imperative to developintervention approaches and establish therapy programs for depressedor aggressive parents to inhibit the prevalence of child abuse.
Children’s Bureau. (2016). Child maltreatment 2014.Retrieved 15 December 2016 fromhttps://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/child-maltreatment-2014
Koizumi, M., & Takagishi, H. (2014). The relationship betweenchild maltreatment and emotion recognition. PLOS one, 9(1),e86093.
Norman, R. E., Byambaa, M., De, R., Butchart, A., Scott, J., &Vos, T. (2012). The long-term health consequences of child physicalabuse, emotional abuse, and neglect: a systematic review andmeta-analysis. PLOS Medicine, 9(11),e1001349.
Taillieu, T. L., Brownridge, D. A., Sareen, J., & Afifi, T. O.(2016). Childhood emotional maltreatment and mental disorders:results from a nationally representative adult sample from the UnitedStates. Child Abuse & Neglect, 59, 1-12.
Young, J. C., & Widom, C. S. (2014). Long-term effects of childabuse and neglect on emotion processing in adulthood. Childabuse & neglect, 38(8), 1369-1381.