Child Abuse and Neglect

Essay by spongebobnjUniversity, Bachelor's January 2008

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METHOD AND DISCUSSIONChild abuse is the neglect or maltreatment of a child; it can be physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect in meeting their needs (usually at the hands of the parent, care-giver or guardian). There are so many types of abuse and/or neglect that many governments have written their own legal definition of what child abuse is for the purpose of removing a child from a situation or charging someone with felony charge. The United States has a federally mandated definition of child abuse and neglect and each State then amends and adds to that federal definition based upon their needs.

Until the 1960's child abuse/neglect did not receive much attention and was usucally handled by agencies that were not publicly visible. Most people (and children) kept what happened in their households private and it wasn't questioned how the child was treated at home. Children often died due to abuse and it was never reported to the police when they were brought to emergency rooms or doctors for treatment.

At this time in history, child abuse began to garner more attention and people like Elizabeth Elmer (Social Worker, Pittsburgh Children's Hospital) and Dr. C. Henvy Kempe began to demand that the issue be addressed and that there should be regulations mandating the report of abuse. Dr. Kempe convinced the US Children's Bureau to create a model law which should be followed and after four years all 50 states had reworked their child protective laws. After the laws were instituted in 1963, over 150,000 cases of abuse were reported that year alone - by 1987 that number grew to over 2.2 million.

Causes of AbuseIf we were able to pin point the exact cause of child abuse we would be able to eliminate it, however, there are many causes...