Last Updated 27 Jul 2020

Crimes Against Children

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Crimes Against Children Child abuse has been a major social concern only since the 1950s but adults have victimized children throughout history. Children are the most vulnerable of all groups which is why child abuse victims are of great concern to society. There are different forms of crimes against children, child abuse, physical or sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Child abuse is the neglect of or violence against children. From 1998 to 2000, 367,000 children were harmed by their parents.

Physical abuse includes intentionally beating, biting, burning, strangling, hitting, kicking or shaking a child. In the 1060s the term “battered child syndrome” was coined. This is a condition where a child suffers serious physical injury usually inflicted by their parents or caregiver. Sexual abuse of children is particularly offensive and is the least commonly reported form of family violence. Unfortunately child sex abusers are family members and friends or neighbors of the victim. In many cases the child has a trusting relationship with the abuser.

Emotional abuse is more subtle and involves power or control to harm the victim’s sense of self. Tactics such as verbal threats, social isolation, intimidation, exploitation, terrorizing a child or exposing him to family violence all serve to diminish a child’s self-worth and can cause impaired psychological growth. Child neglect is the chronic and repetitive failure to provide children with food, clothing, shelter, medical care or protection from harm. It constitutes the largest category of child abuse offenders.

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Fifty-two percent of all child abuse cases in the Unites States involve neglect. Parental alcoholism, drug problems and other inadequate social and family functions are among the factors affecting the child’s response to victimization. More needs to be learned about the long term consequences of childhood victimization. This article discusses what is known from past studies and also present finding of more recent research. Child maltreatment has physical, psychological, cognitive and behavioral consequences.

These include minor injuries to brain damage and even death, low self- esteem, depression, substance abuse and suicide attempt. Cognitive effects include attention problems, learning disorders and poor school performance. Behavior issues range from poor peer relations to physical aggression to violent behavior. Males and females react differently to abuse. Males tend to externalize their feeling and are more likely to develop conduct disorders, while females tend to internalize their feelings leading to depressive disorders.

Practices of the community and the justice and social services systems may have long-term effects. Children who are members of racial or ethnic minorities often meet with discrimination. Researches have suggested that victimized children are more likely to develop behavior problems in adolescence and may be labeled juvenile offenders. Abused and neglected children score lower on IQ tests and usually fail to complete school which leads to menial and unskilled jobs. Interpersonal relationships are also affected by child maltreatment.

Frequent divorce and separation are more common in abused and neglected people. Childhood abuse also increases the risk of being arrested for violent crime. The psychological and emotional fallout for abused children include suicide attempts, antisocial personality disorder and alcohol abuse or dependency. Abused and neglected children may exhibit aggressiveness and behavior problems in childhood, delinquency in adolescence and antisocial and criminal behavior in adulthood.

These children, as adults, may be more prone to become abusive themselves. Recent research indicates that child neglect especially at an early age causes substantial problems. Some forms of early neglect lead to “severe, chronic and irreversible damage”. There are many mechanisms by which abuse and neglect affect a child but finding a single mechanism that explains all cases of abuse and neglect is highly unlikely. Both the textbook and the journal article agree that childhood abuse causes substantial problems later in life.

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