Child abuse is one of the fastest growing social problems in the United States. A social problem is, “a condition that a significant number of people believe to be a problem. A condition in which there is a sizable difference between the ideals of a society and its actual achievements” (Coleman et al. 2006:2). However, society has changed the way it views the issue, and is working towards finding a solution to this awful problem. Child abuse encompasses four main areas: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. Child abuse is considered a sociological phenomenon because it is a learned behavior. Learning the social patterns as to why people abuse will give a better understanding to its reasons, and also the development of society in the way that it views children. 3.6 million children were victims of abuse in the year 2006. Sixty four percent were victims of neglect, sixteen percent suffered from physical abuse, and eight percent were sexually abused. Also in 2006, 1,530 children died as a result of abuse; an average of four children everyday (Child Welfare Information Gateway 2008).
A study was done by David G. Gil, author of Violence Against Children: Physical Child Abuse in the United States and Journal of Marriage and Family, conducted a study about the types of child that was abused. His findings indicated that children of all ages are abused. He also found that abused children are more likely to come from single-parent homes or from large families. Income, occupation, and education are all factors that indicate the higher rates of abuse. Most children in his sample were abused by their mothers, and fewer than half the abused children in his sample were living with their biological father...
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...lcohol abuse problems, children are often the most vulnerable. Briere (1992) talks about society’s responsibility to take care of its future, and using the feminist, functionalist, and conflict theory perspectives, it is our responsibility to change the way in which children are taken care of.
The treatment of childhood maltreatment effects is still in its infancy, however. It is likely that the next decade will bring with it a burgeoning of treatment techniques and approaches relevant to child abuse. As this field develops, so too grows the opportunity for clinicians to provide increasingly more effective services to abuse survivors. To the extent that child abuse trauma underlies a significant proportion of modern mental health problems, these developments are likely to have substantial implications for mental health practice in the years to come. (P.163)
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