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The Central Concepts in Child Abuse

The central concept contained in the proposed research questions consists of ôchild abuse,ö understood as inclusive of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, and/or the neglect of children under the age of 18 and which affects as many as three million or 1.5 percent of the nationÆs children (Baker, 1999). Operationalizing the concept requires measurement, which in turn necessitates categorizing reported incidences of child abuse into sub-categories such as physical abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect (further divided into appropriate subtypes, including emotional/psychological neglect, failure to protect children from other forms of abuse from others, failure to provide adequate housing or food, and so forth).

The central problem associated with obtaining an operational measure of child abuse is the failure of many children who are subject to abuse to be identified; a lack of comprehensive reporting of all potential cases of child abuse or neglect makes it extremely difficult for child protection agencies and social workers to meet the needs of the population. In the proposed study, child abuse will be operationally defined via data generated by the California Child Welfare Services. These data are reported annually by category, with demographic data regarding victims and perpetrators also provided in standardized report form.

Question 2: The most common scale used to measure this concept consists of standardized reporting by law enforcement and child protection agencies in the various states and at the national level. Two distinct sets of data can be identified. First, state child protective services or welfare agencies collect a wealth of data provided by voluntary reports of suspected cases of child abuse. Such reports may be made by family members, the victim, law enforcement agencies, school personnel, hospitals and other medical or support services caregivers (Miller, 1996). Second...

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The Central Concepts in Child Abuse. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:12, February 22, 2017, from