Psychological, Sexual or Physical Types of Child Abuse

Last Updated: 18 Jan 2021
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Child abuse is physical, sexual and/or psychological abuse or neglect of a child or children, especially by parents or guardians.

It covers all types of physical and/or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, neglect and exploitation for commercial or other purposes that cause real or potential damage to the health, survival, development or dignity of the child. relationship with responsibility, trust or authority. Often the confusing methods of hiding with ordinary violence, parents try to be "guardians" of the lives of their own children.

By ignoring another attitude, children cannot adequately assess the situation, therefore they do not try to defend themselves, they consider themselves guilty. Child abuse is a global problem with serious consequences for life. The statistics on this subject are quite inaccurate.

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Physical abuse of children occurs in all socioeconomic groups, but racial and socioeconomic factors affect the frequency and severity of abuse. A quarter of adults reported experiencing physical abuse during childhood.

Example 1: Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

Domestic violence and child abuse have a tendency to go hand in hand. In the past, people overlooked the fact that in most households where domestic violence kids present, child abuse and neglect also occurs. An improvement in the collaboration between child protection and domestic violence services is vital for workers to identify, interdict, and resolve the issues related to abuse in all forms.

Cross training and interagency cooperation will greatly reduce abuse and increase the efficiency in which help is administered. 4-29-2011 SWK 311 Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Some parents abuse their kids because they have an alcohol or drug problem, or they have an extreme temper and they take it out on their kids, some parents abuse their kids because the parents went through something traumatic. Some parents abuse their children because they were abused when they were children, and then, you get some people who are just plain cruel and enjoy abusing children.

In most instances domestic violence in the family structure also has an impact on the existence of child abuse. Households that experience some form or another of domestic violence also have higher rates of child abuse/neglect issues. We should recognize that domestic violence can also be associated with child abuse and improve the collaboration between child protection and domestic violence services. Child buse and neglect in the context of domestic violence can be played out in a variety of ways; the same perpetrator may be abusing both mother and children, probably the most common scenario; the children may be injured when “caught in the crossfire” during incidents of adult domestic violence; children may experience neglect because of the impact of the violence, controlling behaviors and abuse on women’s physical and mental health; or children may be abused by a mother who is herself being abused.

Evidence is emerging in cases where both domestic violence and child abuse occur represent the greatest risk to children’s safety (Stanley 1997) and that large numbers of cases in which children are killed have histories of domestic violence(Wilczynski 1996). The man of the family is usually the root cause of the problem, however child protection services has a history of focusing on the mother, despite the fact that men are estimated to be responsible for half of the incidents of physical abuse of children, and the majority of the most serious physical abuse.

Most interventions by Child protection have focused on the woman, even when their violent male partners have been known to have committed the abuse of children. This is problematic because this gender bias can result in women being held accountable for “failing to protect” their children from the actions of men who use violence against them and therefore a failure to hold men accountable for the effects of their violence on women and children. An understanding of how domestic abuse effects child abuse is crucial in developing strategies to combat the child abuse problem.

For child protection services to be effective there needs to be an understood collaboration between them and the domestic violence services. Child protection agencies have been slow or failed to recognize the contribution of domestic violence to many situations of child abuse and neglect. Some differences are that child protective services usually deal with involuntary clients, whereas domestic violence service workers deal with people on a voluntary basis.

Child protective services deal with women who may be at a very different stage in recognizing and dealing with the violence in their relationships, than women who contact domestic violence services. For a collaboration to be effective, both agencies must understand each other’s work, what it is and what it isn’t. They must also appreciate the constraints, pressures, and limitations under which they are both operating. Both entities need to realize that domestic violence goes hand in hand with child abuse and vice-versa. Strategies should also be changed by child protection agencies in reference to their approach of men.

They need to learn about legal approaches to contain the violent men, so that they do not merely rely on threats to a mother to physically remove her children. They also need to learn to relate to abused women in ways that do not replicate the controlling and threatening behaviors of the perpetrator. Some interesting ways so that the two agencies could work together is cross-training, integration, and specialized teams. Mandatory cross-training would enable both agencies to realize the identifying factors and how to go about handling them. It would enable the agencies to see the powers and limitations of each other.

Integration of the agencies will also enable them to use to their resources to their fullest potential. It is kind of like the Sherriff’s department and the city police, both are basically doing the same task, but they are two separate entities who rarely communicate with each other. If they merged together and integrated all of their resources they would probably be more efficient. The same goes with child protection and domestic violence services. Specialized teams would also be very beneficial because they could use their special skills to handle very tricky situations.

The teams could team up with the police and court system to find a way to handle the situation. Establishing this “common ground” approach between the two agencies will significantly reduce child abuse in domestic violence households. In response to the growing recognition of the intersection of domestic violence and child abuse and neglect, significant efforts are being made to improve the collaboration between domestic violence and child protection services. This is very important to recognize that one usually affects the other. We must understand and use every available resource to combat the problem.

Instead of standing there with our hands tied behind our backs not being able to do anything, let’s use every available tool and resource that is available to help the child. Anything that can be done to save or at least help any child that is in an abusive situation is worth it.


  • Stanley, N. 1197, ‘Domestic Violence and Child Abuse: Developing Social Work Practice’, Child and Family Social Work, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 135-146
  • Wilczynski, A. 1996, ‘Risk Factors for Child and Spousal Homicide’, Psychiatry and Behavioral Disorders: Family Law Issues, LAAMS Publications, Bondi Junction

Example 2: Child Abuse And Abandonment

Unfortunately, it is occurring more and more in today’s society that these defenseless children are being robbed of their childhood innocence and happiness and are being forced to face the cruel reality of our world at far too young an age. These Children are victims of neglect and abuse, primarily caused by family members or people they are close to. Child neglect is the most common form of abuse, and is therefore the main subject that will be covered in this essay.

This disturbing and extremely common, yet rarely talked about topic effects at least one out of every 10 children under the age of 14 in Canada alone. Child abuse and neglect are one of the largest problems occurring in society, and in order for the situation to improve, we need to stop ignoring the fact that it is a daily reality, and become better educated on the topic and how to prevent it. After all, the children of today are the future of tomorrow, and they deserve to start their lives surrounded by love, and free from fear and pain.

Many children these days take the love, support, and presence of their parents for granted, often starting arguments over unimportant things and getting upset when things do not go their way. Sadly, what they do not realize is that a large number of children do not get to know what a parent’s presence feels like, let alone having their constant love and support. Millions of children around the world suffer from abuse and neglect, and wake up every morning fearful of what the day will hold.

There is no exact definition that holds enough value to be able to describe the fear and pain that these young children go through each day, but by law, child abuse has been defined as “an act, or failure to act, on the part of the parent or caretaker that results in the death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation of a child, or which places the child in an imminent risk of serious harm. ” There are four kinds of child abuse; physical, sexual, emotional and neglect. All kinds of abuse are illegal in Canada and the United States.

Although each type f child abuse is of great importance, neglect is the most common form of child mistreatment in Canada (accounting for 62% of all reported abuse cases), and can cause damage even more severe than that of any other form of abuse. Neglect is when the caregiver does not provide necessary attention to the child’s safety, physical, emotional or psychological needs. In severe cases, neglect can lead to abandonment, which is when a parent relinquishes permanent rights and claims to a child outside legal adoption.

Child abandonment is a severe problem, accounting for almost half (43.3%) of all fatal child abuse cases. In Canada, there are over 15, 980 neglected children, and that number is only a rough estimate, because the majority of neglect cases are left unreported. The children that are more at risk of becoming victims are disabled children, who are twice as likely, and aboriginal children, who make up the majority of child abuse and neglect victims in Canada. Many parents or caregivers who neglect and abandon their children do so because they suffer from depression, lack of initiative, futility, a low level of education, a poor socioeconomic status, unemployment, substance abuse or social isolation.

Other factors that could lead to neglect and abandonment can include that the child was the outcome of sexual assault or incest, or is perceived by the caregiver as an obstacle to personal achievements. If a child suffers from neglect, signs of the abuse may include severe need of medical or dental care, frequent school absences, stealing food, begging for money, dressing inappropriately for the weather, not answering questions directly about his parents or caregivers, and drastic changes in personality and appearance. If a child is reported as being neglected or abused, Children’s Aid Society (CAS) goes to inspect the home.

If the accusations prove true, the child is then taken from the parent or caregiver (either temporarily or permanently, depending on the severity of the abuse), and is places either in the custody of another relative, or in foster care. The sentence of the caregiver depends on how severe the abuse or neglect is, and can vary from having to pay a fine, to losing custody of the child, to being imprisoned. As Canadian citizens and members of our community, it is our duty to protect the children by reporting any signs of abuse or neglect to the authorities.

Unfortunately, not many people do so, and by consequence, the young children have no voice, and are forced to continue suffering in silence. One may not think that child abuse and neglect has much of an impact for the population, but in reality, it largely affects many aspects of today’s –and tomorrow’s- society. Economically, child abuse is very costly. Once a child had been taken out of the custody of his or her parents, they are often taken to hospitals where their medical needs are taken care of, and then placed into foster homes.

The treatment and trips to the hospital quickly become very costly, and the foster care alone costs the country over $6 billion a year. Also, each abandoned child could cost the government over $3,000 a day. Although the money is going towards the great cause of providing abused and abandoned children with a better life, it is a completely avoidable matter that is costing extreme amounts of money. Also, there has been a dramatic increase in child abuse and neglect since 1991, and the numbers are still growing. If this trend continues, there will be more children who are abused than those who are not.

What this will mean for society is higher taxes, and adults who have more issues and lower skill levels. The effects of abuse and neglect on children are that they have poor social skills and lower education levels, a higher rate of mental and physical disabilities, delinquency, violence, drug abuse and depression. In addition, abused or neglected children have a higher tendency to abuse and neglect their own children later in life. This means that a large portion of our world will be governed by physically and emotionally damaged adults, who may do the same to their own children.

This will result in many socioeconomic problems for our future. As was said before, the children today are the future of tomorrow, and if we want a good future for our world, we need to treat the children properly and give them the knowledge and love they deserve to become well-rounded adults. Countless organizations around the world work to improve the issue of child abuse, neglect and abandonment, as it is an increasingly important problem in our society. However, I have only selected one organization to write about- The Door of Hope.

The Door of Hope is an organization located in Johannesburg, South Africa that has a mission to rescue and receive any abandoned, abused or orphaned babies and children in and around their city. They work to provide a temporary Christian home for all the children while seeking a forever family, suitable long term care or other permanent care for each one. The Door of Hope organization began in 1999, when the pastor of a small church in Johannesburg, named Cheryl Allen, learned that a high number of newly born infants were being abandoned.

Cheryl realized that many of the young women abandoning their babies may have acted differently had there been an alternative. The church then made a “baby bin” in the side of the wall, where mothers could place their infants who would then be brought into the church and taken care of by the volunteers. When news spread, babies began being brought in by police, community members, hospitals and clinics. By having complete faith and reliance in God, the ministry has grown, and saves over 100 children’s lives each year.

Because this organization is still relatively small, they only have a few fundraisers, but are working hard to get more activities and more people to raise awareness and support their cause. Their annual fundraisers are; the Barnyard Fundraiser, a production that lets you experience the music and famous icons of the 80’s. It is a fun-filled all night event of music, comedy and dancing that includes dinner. They also sell Door of Hope memorabilia at the entrance.

Another one of their fundraisers is the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge, which is a bicycle race held in South Africa for any level of cyclist. They ask that participants do their best to raise as much money as possible for the cause, and that they purchase a door of hope shirt to wear on the day of the race. The Door of Hope is a strictly Christian organization that fully believes and trusts in God’s plan. Therefore, there are many possible parables and Beatitudes that could be connected to Door of Hope, but it is the fifth Beatitude that I think represents them the best; “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

Mercy is having love towards those that are miserable and those that need some type of help or assistance. The merciful are those who are compassionate towards those who need mercy, and go out of their way to make the effort to help. Cheryl Allen and the volunteers at Door of Hope truly show that they are merciful by taking abandoned, abused and orphaned infants and children, many of whom are extremely ill or problematic. They spend their days tending to these young children to make sure they get the love and attention they need for no pay whatsoever, and are extremely humble about it.

I believe that this is what makes them so merciful. They give all they have to help these infants, yet ask for nothing in return. The only reward they need is to see a child’s smile, knowing that their life has been saved, and that they will now be able to live to their fullest potential. If someone wanted to support the Door of Hope Organization, they could either send a donation in the form of a cheque through the mail or by credit card over the internet. They could also “adopt a cot”, which is sending a monthly donation to provide a child with a bed and necessary supplies.

A third option, which would be for the most dedicated of supporters, is to go volunteer at the organization. They accept international volunteers and will help pay for your travel and stay, but you must fundraise as well. The international volunteers have to be 18-60 years of age, will stay from 1-12 months and will help with the babies daily, along with other responsibilities. I think that the Door of Hope is a truly spectacular organization, and I hope that when I graduate from Highschool, I will be able to help as an international volunteer.

In conclusion, child abuse and neglect is an extreme problem plaguing our society, and we need to help bring a stop to it. If not, the effects of this abuse will impact many aspects of our future, as well as damaging the lives of countless children and denying them of their full potential. Become an active member of your community, and when you suspect a child is being abused, do not hesitate to report it. You could be saving their life.

Example 3: Cycle of Violence and Child Abuse Intergenerational Transmission

The “cycle of violence hypothesis” is a theory that mainly seeks to clarify why and how the behavior of an individual who commits family and domestic violence may transform dramatically with time. Furthermore, this theory provides an understanding of the reasons why an individual who has been a victim of either domestic or family violence would go on facing a violent situation (Finkelman, 1995). The term “intergeneration transmission” refers to the occurrence of something between generations.

It further described as a process that allows for people to recognize the modalities of conflict that relate to the generations which preceded the birth of an individual (American Heritage Dictionary, 2006). It is the objective of this paper to explain in detail the “cycle of violence” hypothesis as it relates to the intergenerational transmission of mistreating children. The “cycle of violence” hypothesis relates to the intergenerational transmission of mistreating children as exhibited via the principles of social learning theory.

Here a parent that is usually physically punitive would most likely have a child that becomes aggressive because that is the kind of response pattern the child has been accustomed to (Kalverboer, Genta, & Hopkins, 1999). This theory puts it that violent actions are learnt through positive reinforcement patterns and is more often than not imitated. It is important to note that when a child grows up with such a parent, the child will exercise such kind of an approach in raising their own offspring, thus this cycle of violence is in a position to persist through to the future generations.

In addition to this, a parent plays that most crucial role in the life a child (Tomison, 1996). Genetic components of aggressive behavior (Kalverboer, Genta, & Hopkins, 1999) equally result in a cycle of violence in which children are maltreated and it is generational. Under this, it is assumed that the predisposition of a parent for violence is inherited by a child. This inherited predisposition perpetuates the cycle of maltreatment especially towards children thus increasing the probability of such children subsequently maltreating their own children.

Thus the cycle is fueled in the sense that through genes, generations of abusive parents persist. The interaction of environmental and genetic factors is a major factor to consider when relating the cycle of violence to intergenerational transmission of mistreating children. A mere genetic predisposition simply puts a person at the risk of expressing violent behavior but then it takes the interaction of environmental and genetic factors to actually produce the greatest risk of the display of violent behavior (Kalverboer, Genta, & Hopkins, 1999).

When a child has inherited the genes of abusive character from the parents, it is the surrounding environment that fuels the degree of this behavior because of the experiences and thus they are carried forward to their children. As a consequence, the cycle of violent behavior in terms of child maltreatment is perpetrated (Tomison, 1996). According to a research done on intergenerational transmission of abuse, an examination was done where by the history of a parent in terms of abuse in relation to their abusive behavior toward the children was hypothesized (Pearsa & Capaldi, 2001).

Furthermore, the effect of the extent of an abuse and the possibility of the concerned individual becoming abusive were equally considered. From this study it was reported that the parents who had an abusive childhood were more likely to take part in abusive behavior in the next generation. These findings illustrate that the “cycle of violence” has a great link to the intergenerational transmission of mistreating children (Tomison, 1996).

Much as there is a lot of evidence to connect the cycle of violence to the intergenerational transmission of mistreating children it is important to note that not all people who experience an abusive childhood become abusive parents in future. In addition, the cycle of violence can be broken via social support programs especially to the single parents (Langeland & Dijkstra, 2006). Another way through which this vice can be eradicated is via the support from the spouse who realizes the partner could have been a victim of abuse in their childhood.

It is also important to consider positive moves such as focusing on interventions that would prevent the cycle of violence from persisting through to other generations.


  • American Heritage Dictionary. (2006). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition . New york: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Finkelman, B. (1995). Child Abuse: Short- and long-term effects. London: Taylor & Francis. Kalverboer, A. F. , Genta, M. L. , & Hopkins, J. B. (1999). Current issues in developmental psychology: biopsychological perspectives.
  • New Mexico: Springer. Langeland, W. , & Dijkstra, S. (2006). Breaking the intergenerational transmission of child abuse: Beyond the mother-child relationship.
  • Child Abuse Review , 4 (1). Pearsa, K. C. , & Capaldi, D. M. (2001). Intergenerational transmission of abuse: a two-generational prospective study of an at-risk samplesmall star, filled.
  • Child Abuse & Neglect , 25 (11). Tomison, A. M. (1996). Intergenerational Transmission of Maltreatment. Retrieved May 10, 2010, from http://www. aifs. gov. au/nch/pubs/issues/issues6/issues6. html

Example 4: Discipline Versus Child Abuse

Is there such a thing as too much discipline? How far can a person go with discipline before it turns into child abuse? How do a person know if they are performing child abuse? These are the three main questions that raise a debate when the subjects discipline and child abuse are put in one sentence. What some people might call discipline others may say is child abuse. Gaining the knowledge and education of what is right and what is wrong is the key to preventing discipline from becoming child abuse.

As stated in the American Heritage College Dictionary, discipline is defined as “training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior. ” Child abuse is defined as “mistreatment of a child by a parent or guardian, including neglect, beating, and sexual molestation” on dictionary. com. Unfortunately, a parent or guardian training a child to produce a specific character or pattern behavior may lead to mistreating or neglecting a child unintentionally. It is legal to pk a child but it is also illegal to beat them.

Spanking a child may be considered as light licks on the legs or bottom. Beating a child may consist of bruising or drawing blood. But what works for one child might not be any good for the other. One child can learn a lesson from a pking but if a parent pk’s the other child, it might not have an effect on him at all. That is when alternatives come in. Either way a parent decides to punish that child, that parent’s point will be made or that child will have learned a lesson. There is nothing wrong with disciplining a child for doing something he was not supposed to have done.

Punishing a child will serve as a warning to let that child know that if he ever did something bad again, there will be a consequence. There are many ways to discipline a child without performing child abuse. For example, if a child is at school and acts inappropriate towards his peers or the teacher, he can be giving a pking, a timeout or some of his privileges can be taken away from him. That child might think the parent is being mean or obnoxious, but that entire time that parent is really showing how much they love and care for that child. As a kid, I would get into trouble a lot.

Of course there would be a consequence, and a few words that came along with it. I will never forget the words my mother said to me as I received my pking: “I am only doing this because I love you and I want you to do what is right no matter what the situation is. If I do not whip you, you will continue to do the same thing, so I have to teach you a lesson. ” As I got older, I realized that she really cared. I felt that I did not want to embarrass her or myself any longer and that is when I decided that I was going to do what was expected of me.

Parents have the right to lead their kids by example but they must do it the right way. On the other hand, damaging a child’s self-esteem, self confidence and making him feel unloved or wanted is considered to be child abuse. Why would a parent want to see their child suffer, especially without any cause? If a parent does not want another person or child harming their child intentionally, then why would that parent commit abuse? There are many examples of child abuse but I decided to press the issue on one example. A woman just found out that she has gotten pregnant.

The pregnancy was unplanned and the baby’s father does not want to be a part of that new life, but she decides to keep the child. When the baby arrives, the woman is frustrated because she realizes she cannot take care of herself and the baby mentally, physically, emotionally or financially. The woman now decides to take her anger and frustrations out on the child and that is where the abuse comes in because she does not know what else to do. Sometimes not disciplining a child can be considered child abuse as well.

Everyone knows that a parent has to let a child be child. But when a parent lets the child get away with things a little too much, it is time to let that child know that enough is enough. Since that child feels that he has not been stopped before, he has the right to continue to do what he pleases. The parent needs to tell the child that they are the adult and he is the child will definitely set the boundaries. The parent is going to ruin that child if they let him into the world thinking that he can do what he please.

That is the first step to abusing that child and others are going to do the same if do not step in to guide him. The parent has to learn to say ‘NO’ every once in a while so the child can get used to hearing that word. The parent has to know that they cannot be their child’s best friend and the child has to abide by their rules. If a parent does not start at home by forcing the rules upon the child, then they are giving the world permission to keep the abuse up. Again, the three main questions come to mind. Is there such a thing as too much discipline?

How far can you go with discipline before it turns into child abuse? How do you know if you are performing child abuse? A parent might feel that no one can tell them how to raise their child. So they may feel the need to punish the child however they want. The parent says it is discipline. The outside world might say it is child abuse if they see a child is being mistreated in a way that they feel that is not right. A parent might have their own personal reasons to why they punish their child the way they do.

Maybe it is discipline—then again it may be child abuse. There are people out in the world that feel that they can care for a child better than that child’s parent. Sometimes those people are eager to take that child that they feel are being abused away from that parent. I would tell those parents to choose a more logical way of what they do to their child and how they do it. However a parent decides to punish their child is on them. The parent just need be careful of how they do it because they might not have their child any longer--or even worse, thrown in jail!

Example 5: Mental Retardation and Child Abuse

Sling Blade is a film about a mentally retarded individual by the name of Karl, who murders his mother and her lover – Karl’s classmate – at the age of twelve.  Subsequently, Karl is institutionalized.  Upon release, Karl returns to his hometown where he befriends a young boy, Frank.  The boy’s father had committed suicide, and his mother is dating Doyle, who abuses both Frank and his mother.  Eventually, Karl is responsible for the murder of Doyle as well, as he must put an end to the abuse that he is witnessing in the lives of Frank and his mother.

The story of the film is atypical seeing that Karl is a mentally retarded individual who takes action against child abuse.  Scientific research, on the other hand, has revealed that it is usually the mentally retarded individual who must suffer abuse simply because he cannot take care of himself.

As an example, Morse, Sahler, and Friedman studied twenty five children who had been abused, out of which forty two percent were mentally retarded.  All except one of the mentally retarded children in the study had already been diagnosed as mentally retarded before they were abused.  Hence, it is obvious that the abusers knew that the mentally retarded children are vulnerable to abuse.

According to Morse, Sahler, and Friedman, people who spend time with mentally retarded children are usually aware that these children are not always able to physically or verbally defend themselves.  Moreover, these children are not always able to describe their abuse to others.  Typically, they are also unable to differentiate between proper and improper verbal communication and/or physical contact, regardless of whether the physical contact is sexual or violent in nature.

Lastly, mentally retarded children are truly dependent on other people for all manners of assistance.  This makes them more trusting toward their caretakers as well as others.  Also according to the authors, passivity as well as compliance stem from the trust and dependency of the mentally retarded child.  Those who abuse mentally retarded children are, therefore, taking undue advantage of the trust shown by these children.

Sandgrund, Gaines, and Green have also conducted a study on children.  Out of one hundred and twenty children studied by the authors, sixty had been abused, thirty had been neglected, and another thirty had not been abused at all.  The authors reported that twenty five percent of the abused children in their study had been diagnosed as mentally retarded.

Twenty percent of the neglected children had similarly been recognized as mentally retarded, while only three percent of the children who had never been abused were mentally retarded.  The findings of this study reveal that mentally retarded children are quite likely to be abused.

The fact that Karl of Sling Blade was never abused – rather, he had the intelligence to differentiate between proper and improper verbal communication and/or physical contact – shows that the film is about an unusual mentally retarded individual.  Sandgrund, Gaines, and Green write that mentally retarded children are normally hesitant to report instances of abuse because they fear losing the essential relationships with their caretakers.

Furthermore, these children are not always believed if they manage to report abuse.  Seeing that Karl was not afraid to lose his caretaker at the time he killed his mother reveals that this mentally retarded child was definitely not a typical one.

McFadden has also written about the abuse of mentally ill children, including those who are mentally retarded.  Reporting a study conducted by the New York State Commission on Quality of Care for the Mentally Disabled, McFadden writes that abuse in institutions for mentally retarded children is higher than abuse in institutions for children who are mentally fit.  Also according to the author:

In analyzing those cases, the commission found that abuse most often occurred in leisure- time areas, such as recreation rooms and sleeping quarters, where children congregate without structured activities.  It also found that boys over 12 years of age and children who exhibited disturbing conduct were at the highest risk of abuse.

In 16 percent of the cases, the study said, a finding of abuse or neglect was made by the reporting facility.  In another 18 percent, the facility found misconduct by an employee but no evidence of abuse.  In 66 percent, some corrective action was taken and in nearly 20 percent disciplinary action was taken against at least one employee.

Most of those responsible for the abuse or neglect were not new employees.  The study said 80 percent of them had worked at the facility at least one year and 50 percent had been employed more than three years (McFadden).

Karl was fortunate because his mother did not abuse him.  He was not abused in an institution either.  All the same, research evidence suggests that mentally retarded children are highly vulnerable to abuse.  In unusual cases, perhaps mentally retarded individuals like Karl may be able to struggle against child abuse.  Then again, they might have to take drastic actions such as those of Karl in order to end child abuse.  After all, mentally retarded individuals are not considered credible if they simply manage to report abuse.

Works Cited

  • McFadden, Robert D. “Child Abuse High in New York Mental Centers.” New York Times. 1
  • Dec 1987. 17 Nov 2007.
  • <>.
  • Morse, C.W., O.Z. Sahler, and S.B. Friedman. "A Three-Year Follow-Up Study of Abused and
  • Neglected Children." American Journal of Diseases of Children. Vol. 120 (1970): pp. 439-446.
  • Sandgrund, H., R. Gaines, and A. Green. “Child Abuse and Mental Retardation: A Problem of
  • Cause and Effect.” American Journal of Mental Deficiency. Vol. 79 (1974): pp. 327-330.
  • Sling Blade. Dir. Billy Bob Thorton. 1996.

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