CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT: CAUSES AND ISSUES
Child abuse is a pervasive problem in our society. However, child abuse is difficult to identify due to the intricate components of definitions of child abuse and neglect. These vary among different sectors of the general public and among different professions concerned with the problem.
For example, physical abuse is defined as "non-accidental physical harm to the child inflicted by persons responsible for the child's care." For some purposes "serious" harm is utilized; for others, the "intentional, willful" nature is emphasized. For still others, "danger to the child," and not intent, is stressed.
The American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Standards Project defines child abuse as that which .. causes or creates a substantial risk of causing disfigurement, impairment of bodily functioning or other serious physical injury" (Kadushin and Martin, 1981, p. 6).
Regardless of the intent or the extent of physical harm, child abuse inflicts profound health, behavioral, emotional, social, and psychological scars on the abused.
The purpose of this report is to delineate the nature of child abuse and neglect and to discuss parental factors that are related to incidents of child abuse.
The thesis of this report is: child abuse has been a societal problem for many years. Yet, while analyzing this problem, we find that blame should not be placed directly on the abuser. There are individual parental factors, family factors, and environmental factors that must be considered.
The report is divided into two primary sections. First, the nature of the problem is presented which includes an historical framework. This is necessary to provide the legal foundation that initially established legislation defining the nature of child abuse and neglect.
Second, individual parental factors, family factors, and environmental factors will be discussed.
The legalistic ramificat...