Child Abuse and Neglect

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Child abuse is the “saddest and most tragic problem” in the United States today (Child Abuse). Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children. Victims range from ages of a few weeks to late teenage years.

While most child abuse cases are not fatal, some do end in death. Some researchers have even labeled child abuse an “epidemic.” Because more than fifty percent of child abuse cases are not reported, the exact numbers will never be known. In the 1970's the United States government issued a survey about the number of child abuse cases. The survey showed that there are more than 60,000 cases of child abuse in some form each year. Another survey, in 1976 showed that the annual number of cases had grown to half a million. Though this study was found to have many repeated cases, the government estimated that the number of cases had risen to 100,000 to 200,000 cases per year.

Dr. Vincent Fontana, a doctor at New York City’s Foundling Hospital estimated that one and a half million children would be abused in any given year (Child Abuse). He predicted that 300,000 victims will be permanently injured, physically and/or emotionally, and that in the next five to ten year period 50,000 children will die (2,000 per year). He also predicted that it would surpass the top four leading causes of death (accidents, cancer, physical defects, and pneumonia).

Child abuse can be classified into four basic groups:

1. Physical

a. Sexual

b. Physical Beatings

2. Emotional

3. Neglect

4. Moral, Educational, Etc.

Physical abuse counts for twenty-four percent of all child abuse cases. Sexual abuse is twelve percent. Neglect counts the most with fifty-two percent, and emotional and educational abuse makes up the remainder.

Physical abuse comes in two forms: Physical beatings and sexual abuse. Physical includes any actions that injure a person’s body (Havelin 6). Hitting, kicking slapping, punching, burning, pulling hair, and poisoning are all forms of physical abuse. The use of belts, shovels, fists, feet, whips, chains, ropes, electric cords, leather straps, canes, baseball bats, wooden sticks, brooms, scalding water, coffee and any other hot liquids have all been used in som...

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...ll for help. Their phone number is 1-800-999-9999.

The American Humane Association (AHA) is an organization that works with the Child Protection Agency to assist communities everywhere in developing new programs for protection or improving ones in existence. The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) works to improve the welfare of neglected children in the United States and Canada. Patents Anonymous is a self-help organization. Members meet once a week and speak openly about their problems and why they abuse or neglect their children.

Child abuse is a serious offense in today’s society. Most offenses are punishable by jail and fines, but this is not doing enough. As the number of child abuse cases increase each year, all we can do is ask, “What can we do to prevent it.”

Works Consulted

"Child Abuse." Child Help 2014. Web. 28 May 2015.

Havelin, Kate. Child Abuse: “Why Do My Parents Hit Me?”.Mankato, Minnesota: Capstone Press, 2000.

“Understanding Child Sexual Abuse.” American Psychological Association. 2011. Web. 28 May 2015.

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