A child is a human between the stages of birth and puberty.  Some biological definitions of a child include the fetus, as being an unborn child. The legal definition of “child” generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority. A “Child” may also describe a relationship with a parent (such as sons and daughters of any age) or, metaphorically, an authority figure, or signify group membership in a clan, tribe, or religion; it can also signify being strongly affected by a specific time, place, or circumstance, as in “a child of nature” or “a child of the Sixties”.
Abuse is the improper usage or treatment for a bad purpose, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can come in many forms, such as: physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, sexual assault, violation, rape, unjust practices; wrongful practice or custom; offense; crime, or otherwise verbal aggression
The bottom line regarding child abuse is that its occurrence crosses all gender, race, societal and economic lines. The Administration of Children and Families estimate 3,503,000 children received an investigation by CPS agencies in 2004 as follows: 62. percent of victims experienced neglect, 17. 5 percent were physically abused, 9. 7 percent were sexually abused, 7. 0 percent were psychologically maltreated, and 2. 1 percent were medically neglected. Who is at highest risk of becoming a child abuse victim? What factors should be considered when assessing child abuse risk factors? Adults who experienced abuse as children. When assessing child abuse risk factors, statics show that some adults who were abused as children repeat that same behavior with their own children.
Victims of child abuse are often unable to develop healthy ways of disciplining their children, so repeat the behaviors they learned themselves as children. Adults involved in an abusive relationship with an intimate partner. Another dynamic to consider when assessing child abuse risk factors is a parent/caregiver who is involved in an abusive relationship themselves. The child abuse may occur either out of frustration and shame over the abuse the adult experiences, or because of a minimized ability to function in a healthy and appropriate relationship with their children.
Child with disabilities or mental retardation. A child with extraordinary needs may increase the burden of care on the caregiver, potentially leading to higher stress levels. Further, a parent’s or caregiver’s lack of understanding the child’s needs and development may lead to abuse by the parent or caregiver who perceives the child’s behavior inappropriately or inaccurately. Family disorganization, dissolution. When assessing child abuse risk factors, children in families on the brink of dissolving, or have already dissolved are at a high risk for abuse due to increased stress level in the relationships.
Sometimes one parent abuses the child as an unconscious way to hurt the other parent or one of the parents blame the child for contributing to the dissolution or disorganization of the family. Poverty, unemployment, stress, distress. Poverty is not a cause of child abuse. When assessing child abuse risk factors, though, poverty, unemployment and other socioeconomic disadvantages of the family place a child at high risk for becoming a victim of child abuse.
The stress, sense of hopelessness, potential loss of possessions and livelihood can increase stress to a boiling point, with adults lashing out at those who are most vulnerable. Depression and other mental health conditions. Mental illness can cause adults to respond and react in violent or at least unhealthy ways. Relationships with children and others in the life of a depressed or mentally ill individual can be strained and misunderstood, sometimes leading to abuse.. Negative interactions and/or poor child-parent relationships.
This type of dynamic creates a vicious cycle of mutual anger and frustration. When a parent and child have a difficult or challenging relationship, the parent may lash out in anger and frustration by abusing the child. Medical practitioners, teachers, child care providers and others in a position of responsibility for children are required by law to report suspected child abuse. Reporters may remain anonymous to the suspected abuser and investigators will thoroughly investigate the allegation. The burden of responsibility for proving abuse is on the investigator, not the reporter.
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