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Child Abuse. By Veronica Rau-Mason. What is child abuse? Federal : Any 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 Iowa :

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Child Abuse

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Child Abuse

By Veronica Rau-Mason


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What is child abuse?

  • Federal:

    • Any 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

  • Iowa:

    • A child who is subjected to one or more of the following six categories by the person responsible for the care of the child

      • Physical abuse

      • Sexual abuse

      • Mental injury

      • Denial of critical care

      • Presence of illegal drugs

      • Manufacturing or possession of a dangerous substance


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What is and isn’t physical abuse?

  • Physical abuse is defined as any non-accidental physical injury that is suffered by a child as the result of the acts or failure to act by a person responsible for the care of the child.

  • Physical punishment for correction in with no intent of injury is NOT child abuse.


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What are the signs of physical abuse?

  • Physical indicators of bodily harm such as burns, bruises, and fractures that are not accidental.

  • Behavioral indicators include extreme aggression, withdrawal, seductive behaviors, and being uncomfortable with physical contact or closeness.


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What is sexual abuse?

  • Sexual abuse is defined as the commission of a sexual offense with or to a child as the result of these acts or failure to act by person responsible for the care of the child:

    • Engaging in a sexual act with a child.

    • Forcing a child to perform a sexual act with an other.

    • Having a child view sexual acts.

    • Commercial exploitation of a child.


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What are the signs of physical abuse?

  • Physical indicators include bruised or bleeding genitalia, venereal disease, or pregnancy.

  • Behavioral indicators such as excessive knowledge of sexual matters beyond their normal developmental age, seductiveness, or inappropriate relationships with peers or adults.


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What is mental injury/abuse?

  • Mental injury is defined as injury to a child's intellectual or psychological capacity as evidenced by an observable impairment in the child's ability to function within the normal range of performance and behavior as the result of the acts or failure to act by the person responsible for the care of the child:

    • Ignoring the child and failing to provide necessary validation of the child's worth in normal family routine.

    • Isolating the child from normal human contact.

    • Verbal assaults that create fear, hostility, and anxiety within the child.

    • Corrupting the child by encouraging and reinforcing destructive, antisocial behavior until the child is unable to interact in normal social environments.

    • Over pressuring the child to grow up fast and to achieve too early or higher in the areas of academics, physical or motor skills, or social interaction.


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What is & isn’t denial of critical care/neglect?

  • Denial of critical care is defined as the failure on the part of a person responsible for the care of a child to provide for the adequate food, shelter, clothing or other care necessary for the child's health and welfare when able to do so.

  • A parent or guardian who is legitimately practicing religious beliefs who does not provide specified medical treatment for a child for that reason alone shall not be considered abusing the child.


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What are the signs of mental injury & neglect?

  • Physical indicators such as clothes (ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for the weather), hygiene is consistently bad (unbathed, noticeable body odor, matted and unwashed hair), and untreated illnesses and physical injuries.

  • Behavioral indicators include low self-esteem, anti-social mannerisms, depression, stealing, and extreme fear, hostility, and anxiety.


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How often does child abuse happen?

  • Rates of Victimization:

    • Out of the 3.5 million child abuse investigations conducted each year, approximately 750,000 are founded.

    • 10.6 children per 1000 are victims of child abuse.

    • Approximately 75% of these children are considered first time victims with no prior history of abuse.

    • Rates of victimization have been slowly declining over the past decade.


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Who are the victims of child abuse?

  • Age:

    • Younger children have higher rates of victimization.

  • Sex:

    • Girls are more likely to be victims than boys.

  • Race/Ethnicity:

    • White and Hispanic children have lower rates of victimization (~10/1000) than all other ethnicities (~15/1000)


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Who are the victims by type of abuse?

  • Denial of Critical Care/Neglect: 60%

  • Multiple Maltreatments: 13%

  • Physical Abuse: 11%

  • Sexual Abuse: 8%

  • Mental Injury: 4%


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Who are the perpetrators of Child Abuse?

  • Relationship to Victim:

    • Approximately 80% are the parents.

  • Age:

    • Female perpetrators tend to be younger than male.

  • Sex:

    • Women comprise of about 57% of perpetrators.

  • Race/Ethnicity:

    • About half were White, one-fifth African American, and one-fifth Hispanic .


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What are the negative consequences of child abuse?

  • Juvenile Delinquency including teenage pregnancy, prostitution, alcohol and drug abuse, etc.

  • Psychological problems such as depression, low self-esteem, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. (80% of those who were abused as a child).

  • Adult criminal tendencies including violent crimes (84% of men and 36% of women in prison were abused as children).

  • Those who have been subjected to child abuse are more likely to abuse children as an adult!


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How to prevent child abuse …

  • Early childhood intervention

  • Home visitation

  • Parenting programs

  • Family strengthening and support

  • Youth development programs

  • Shelters

  • Welfare assistance


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Interesting, but horrific statistics:

-Almost five children die everyday as a result of child abuse.   More than three out of four are under the age of 4.-It is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.-A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.-Ninety percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68% are abused by family members.-Child abuse occurs at every socio-economic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.-Thirty-one percent of women in prison in the United States were abused as children.-Over 60% of people in drug rehabilitation centers report being abused or neglected as a child.-About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.-About 80% of 21 year old that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.-The estimated annual cost resulting from child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2007 is $104 billion. 


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Statistics Continued …

-Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy-Children who experience child abuse & neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crime. -Children who have been sexually abused are 2.5 times more likely develop alcohol abuse-Children who have been sexually abused are 3.8 times more likely develop drug addiction-Nearly 2/3’s of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused as children-Eighty percent of young adults who had been abused met the diagnostic criteria for at least 1 psychiatric disorder at the age of 21 (including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, & post-traumatic stress disorder) -Fourteenpercentof all men in prison in the USA were abused as children -Thirty-six percent of all women in prison were abused as children


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Child Abuse from the Sociological Perspective

  • Structure-Functionalist

  • Marxism/Conflict Theory

  • Symbolic Interactionism


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