With my target group of children of child abuse, the primary level of prevention will be necessary. We need to work with the target population of the “at-risk” group and reach out to them with the proper resources to prevent future issues. Poverty, stress, job loss, family history, and mental retardation can all lead to causes of child abuse but no of these should be the excuses for such actions to happen. My suggested solution is to find these children at a young age and help them identify the problems. Training professional to identify signs of abuse which may be physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect, are crucial to early detection and changing the cycle.
We have support groups for other target groups like alcoholics and over-weight groups, why not for the prevention/intervention of abuse. The long-lasting effects of such a program would be to stop the abuse today and break the cycle of violence. If we could stop a child today from repeating the cycle, this could lessen future cases of needed child protective services, Hands of Hope cases or court cases of violence against families. Very productive lives can be halted or ruined when cases of past abuse surface in later years which could have been dealt with many years prior. Some of the noticeable signs are:
* Physical abuse signs of abuse are unexplained bruises or cuts, marks from bites, anti-social behaviors, and difficulties in school. * Emotional abuse signs are apathy, depression, aggression towards others or stress, lacking concentration, and eating disorders. * Sexual abuse signs are inappropriate interest and the knowledge of sexual acts, wetting the bed, nightmares, appetite issues, being to compliant or too much aggression, and the over-excessive fear of a certain person and family member. * Signs of neglect are inappropriate clothing for the weather, dirty and un-bathed, excessive hunger, and lack of supervision. Setting up meetings for the at-risk group and starting the needed intervention early before negative and destructive habits are developed are essential to prevent future problems. Many acts can become illegal and with proper help will be corrected. Too many situations, slip through the cracks of society, to become serious issues. Group sessions may be necessary in the beginning, so people may not feel so singled out and then progress into individual sessions.
Knowing from past situations, the signs are there but appear to be overlooked and not reported to the proper agencies. The suggested solution would be affected by government regulation with the needed funding that is preventing many programs, at the present. There will need to be outside funding sources for the implementation of the services. This would have to tie in with other programs in effect to be efficient. Schools, social services, churches, and private organizations would have to step to be financially stable. Professional counseling services would need to be involved to provide appropriate service coordination to cover legalities of the services. With the Hatch Amendment 1978, and its revised regulations in1984, much confusion happened with the schools offering counseling services. Understanding that written requirement for parental consent to participate with the school programs covered a small range of certain school programs which were federally funded, were experiment in nature, and used psychological tests or treatments. (JoeAnt.com, 1990).
Some of the toughest obstacles will be the individuals own shame, low self-esteem, family history, fear, and the unwillingness to cooperate with future investigations. Issues with sex, drugs, self-abuse, gangs, and running away will arise and must be dealt with for the victims. Drug over-doses and suicide may be the final act of reaching out. Just the act of admitting the acts even happened or maybe, if I do not say anything, it will just go away. Payment for services, with this target group, can also be an obstacle which holds back many needed services. There is money for the treatment of the issues, but not the prevention of the problem. It appears it is just easier to treat a problem than preventing and maker better lives. The stats are easier to document how many cases a doctor treats in a day vs. how many lives were ultimately saved by the prevention. We can only guess how many it may have saved. Many care facilities are set-up for treatment, not prevention of the problem.
New programs that would be needed is training for future social workers, school teachers, counselors, church pastors, and other health care professional, that provide training in the prevention of child abuse and warning signs. New support groups can be developed for families of violence, history of violence, at-risk populations, and up-to-date current stress issues which could meet weekly to gain the trust of the target group. More Crisis Prevention Responders would be needed to respond when the need arises and support for the workers. Debriefing is critical to get the information out and dealt with for the worker to vent about the cases responded to in the field. Family retreats could be set-up because to bring families together and deal with those issues. Possibly, even some camps for the children, of abuse to go to bring back those innocent years and self-esteem back to the child.
JoeAnt.com. (1990). ERICDIGESTS.ORG. Retrieved from http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9214/legal.htm