Child abuse is a large problem in this world we live in. Every single country suffers from the problem. It is all around us. This problem can permanently scar a child’s life through adulthood. Child abuse is the emotional/physical harm and neglect of a child. Currently the United States and many western countries place child abuse as a high priority. Despite these efforts, child abuse is often not easily seen by just anyone, and is happening as you read this. More than 6 million children are reported as being abused in the United States. According to ChildHelp.org, “A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds.”
28.3% of all child abuse reports in the united states are Physical abuse; 20.7% for Sexual Abuse; 10.6% for emotional abuse, 9.9% for physical neglect, and 14.8% for physical neglect. The impact child abuse has on children can have a detrimental effect in their childhood and even adulthood; This includes mental health disorders, addictions, and related issues such as: Risk for intimate partner violence, alcoholism and alcohol abuse, illicit drug abuse, smoking and drinking at an early age, depression, and suicide attempts. The sexual and reproductive health issues and risk factors as a result of abuse also include: Multiple sexual partners, the chance of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases, unintended/adolescent pregnancies with fetal death, and the early initiation of sexual activity. It is also estimated that the “lifetime estimates of lost worker productivity, health care costs, special education costs, child welfare expenditures and criminal justice expenditures added up to $124 Billion.” This amounts to 1.7 million children that could have gone to college if it weren’t for the costs of child abuse on society. And this information alone is for those children whom survived the abuse.
It is estimated that 1,640 children whom died as a result of abuse and neglect. This amounts to about 4-5 children per day. About 70% of those children who died were at most 2 years old! Over 80% were not even old enough for kindergarten! It is estimated that about 80% of these child deaths involved at least one parent as the culprit of the child’s death. The good thing is there are a number of organizations set out to protect the children of our country.
Many websites push to raise awareness on child abuse; such as “Childwelfare.gov”, whom have established April as National Child Abuse Awareness Month. A government bill was signed in 1974 by President Richard Nixon known as CAPTA (Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act), which provided federal assistance to states for prevention, identification, and treatment programs and a minimum level of assistance to the children in need. This act also lead to the creation of the Office of Child Abuse and Neglect. The Child Abuse Prevention Federal Challenge Grants Act was enacted in 1984; the state of Kansas was the first to sign onto the act. This bill created a tax on marriage licenses as a way to fund the Child Abuse Prevention organizations. While this sounds like a great idea, efforts have slowly crumbled over the decades.
A new publication by NPR.org suggests that states are not meeting the minimum requirements as previously established; Child deaths are not being disclosed as required by law; Agencies and organizations are underfunded, and a lack of workforce has marred the effectiveness of organizations. Many of child service organizations suggest that there needs to be a revision to the way these organizations can spend their budget, and how their reporting should work. “Whether or not individual states can meet a reporting standard to us is not where the emphasis ought to be,”… “It needs to be on making sure that the kids who need assistance are getting assistance, and the families that need assistance are getting the assistance,” says Ron Smith, director of legislative affairs for the American Public Human Services Association, which represents child welfare administrators.
Child Abuse is expected to increase if we, the people, do not become proactive towards the situation. It is best to report abuse anonymously with as much information as possible; and, if possible, to try to comment to the person about their actions/behaviors towards their child. Often times the afflicting person can believe nothing is wrong unless someone tells them so. This problem will slowly recede and attrite if everyone becomes aware of the immediate and lasting effects that abuse has on children.