The abuse and neglect of children has transcended through generations and across race, class and ethnicity. Historical evidence shows that children were perceived as nothing more than property and were subjected to numerous forms of maltreatment. Children are often enslaved, beaten, prostituted and even killed at the hands of parents and guardians upon whom they are dependant. Gelles and Straus, 1979a note, "the family is perhaps the most violent social group, and the home the most violent social setting, in our society"(p. 15). A small child has a significantly higher chance of being killed or severely injured by their parents than by any one else around them. Collins and Coltrane 1995 emphasize this point by highlighting that "for children, the home is often the most dangerous place to be"(p. 476 -477). Since the coining of the term "The Battered-child Syndrome" by Dr. C. Henry Kempe and Colleagues in 1962, child abuse and neglect has received tremendous publicity.
The development of various legislation and programs geared towards public education and the protection of children has recently drawn both regional and international attention to child abuse and neglect as a social problem.
Types Of Child abuse
Child abuse and neglect is a new title for an old phenomenon and it is complex and difficult to detect in some instances, thus it is important that the terms be defined. The definition of child abuse has been influenced by different historical periods and many vary from place to place. Gelles and Straus 1979b summarized child abuse as any "violence carried with the intention of, or perceived as having the intention of physically hurting the child" (p.336). Similarly, within the English speaking Caribbean, a general working definition has been adopted from The Recommended Standard Definition and Indicators of Child Abuse and Neglect. This definition...