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Child Abuse Is a Social Issue

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Child Abuse is a Social Issue

Child abuse is a very serious and controversial issue that is escalating in today's society. The definition of child abuse varies, depending on who is asked. The Child Abuse Prevention Act (CAPTA) defines child abuse and neglect as "at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm." (CAPTA)

In the United States over 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year. Child abuse is one of the saddest and most tragic problems in America today. It is very much a reality in this world. National Child Abuse Statistics show that "a report of child abuse is made every ten seconds." It also states that "five children die every day as a result of child abuse" and that "eighty percent of those children are under the age of four."

Child abuse can manifest itself in four basic forms: Physical Child Abuse, Emotional Child Abuse, Sexual Child Abuse, and Neglect. "Physical Child Abuse is defined as inflicting physical injury upon a child." (ICAN) "Sexual Child Abuse is inappropriate sexual behavior with a child." (ICAN)

"Neglect is the failure to provide for the child's basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational or emotional."(ICAN) "Emotional Abuse is a pattern of behavior that impairs a child's emotional development or sense of self-worth."(ICAN)

Child Abuse can have many consequences on the victim. For example, the child can suffer from emotional effects or isolation, fear, and an inability to trust. They can develop antisocial traits, as well as behavioral problems. As adolescents they can develop drug abuse. Child Abuse affects society as a whole in terms of both direct and indirect costs.

Child abuse has occurred since ancient times, in ancient Rome, fathers had the authority to sell, kill, sacrifice or otherwise do with a child as he saw fit. Children have always been subject to abuse by their parents or other adults, and for many centuries laws failed to protect them. During the industrial revolution, children were considered property and were forced into hard labor and denied an education. As recently as the 1950s and 1960s, if child abuse was suspected, outsiders looked the other way. The abuse was considered a family matter. In 1974, the first federal child welfare law, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, was passed. Although there are agencies and laws in place now, child abuse continues to be a significant social problem. Today, it is legally mandatory to report child abuse. Extreme cases of abuse may be referred to criminal courts. There have been numerous amendments to the law over the years. While we have made great strides



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