Child Abuse (cont.)

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How can child abuse be prevented?

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This, too, is a very complex matter and includes these measures:

  • A support-group structure is needed to reinforce parenting skills and closely monitor the child's well-being.
  • Visiting home nurse or social-worker visits are also required to observe and evaluate the progress of the child and his/her caretaking situation.
  • The support-group structure and visiting home nurse or social-worker visits are not mutually exclusive. Many studies have demonstrated that the two measures must be coupled together for the best possible outcome.
  • Children's school programs regarding "good touch...bad touch" can provide children with a forum in which to role-play and learn to avoid potentially harmful scenarios.
  • Parents should make sure that their child's daycare center is licensed and has an open-door policy regarding parental visitation.
  • Public-awareness programs regarding child abuse and neglect can be informative.
  • Developing free and anonymous support systems (such as "hot lines") encourages the reporting of potential instances of child abuse.

What more can be done to prevent child neglect?

As children's advocates, we wish to remind parents about the importance of preventative child health care, including

  • proper use of car seats and seat belts;
  • consistent use of helmets for bicycling, skateboarding, and skiing/snowboarding;
  • pool and water safety;
  • firearm safety;
  • preventing community violence;
  • poisoning prevention.

Are people who were abused as children more likely to become criminals later in life?

According to a 2005 study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), maltreatment in childhood increases the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59% and as an adult by 28%. Abuse as a child also increases the prospect of arrest for a violent crime by 30%.

For females, being abused or neglected in childhood raises the likelihood of arrest by 77%. A related 1994 NIJ study indicated that children who were sexually abused were 28 times more likely than a control group of nonabused children to be arrested for prostitution as an adult.

A 1997 U.S. Department of Justice study sampled 1,000 urban youths in seventh and eighth grades. Childhood abuse and neglect provided a 25% increased risk factor for serious delinquency (assaults, drug use), poor school performance, symptoms of mental illness, and pregnancy. Interestingly, the risk of lesser forms of delinquency (including underage drinking) were not increased.

For additional information on child abuse, neglect, and child welfare, try the following sites:

Administration for Children and Families

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is the agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that brings together the broad range of federal programs and services that address the needs of children and families.

Children's Bureau

The Children's Bureau is the oldest federal agency specifically charged with the responsibility of looking after the well-being of the nation's children. The bureau helps the states to deliver child-welfare services, such as the protection of children and the strengthening of families (child protective services), family preservation and support, foster care, adoption, and independent living.

Missing Children Web Page
(http://www.missingkids.com/)

Search the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's (NCMEC) database of current missing children cases and view images of missing children. Their missing children forum, another site feature, aids in finding missing and exploited children, supporting families whose children are missing, and offering child-safety assistance. Members can speak with each other and with NCMEC representatives about the images in the forum's libraries.

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI)
(http://www.samhsa.gov)

One of the largest federal clearinghouses and the world's largest resource for information and materials on substance abuse, the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) is the information arm of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (Department of Health and Human Services). Services offered by NCADI include: an information services staff to respond to public inquiries on alcohol, tobacco, and drugs (ATD); distribution of over 450 free or low-cost materials on ATD, such as fact sheets, posters, monographs, and video tapes; referrals to prevention, intervention, and treatment resources; access to the Prevention Materials and the Treatment Resources Databases; and federal grant announcements for ATD-related projects.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)

Visit the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) web site, Justice Information Center (JIC), for a collection of clearinghouses providing information on criminal and juvenile justice issues. The categories offered are corrections, courts, crime prevention, criminal-justice statistics, drugs and crime, international, juvenile justice, law enforcement, research and evaluation, and victims. In addition, JIC offers "New This Week" and "Current Highlights" pages.

National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect
(http://www.ndacan.cornell.edu)

The mission of the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect is to facilitate the secondary analysis of research data relevant to the study of child abuse and neglect. The archive's primary activity is the acquisition, preservation, and dissemination of high-quality data sets related to the study of child abuse and neglect. Their web site provides a listing and brief description of all the studies in the archive, along with ordering information. Information on archive publications and upcoming training institutes and workshops is also offered.

National Indian Child Welfare Association
(http://www.nicwa.org)

The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) serves American Indian tribes throughout the country by helping to strengthen and enhance their capacity to deliver quality child-welfare services. Among the activities in which NICWA engages are community development, public-policy development, and information exchange.

Child Welfare Information Gateway: Statistics and Interventions
(http://www.childwelfare.gov)

Previously, this organization was called the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information. It's an excellent resource covering prevention, responding to child abuse, and supporting and preserving families.

REFERENCES:

Child Maltreatment -- 2011
U.S. Department of Human and Health Services
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm05/cm05.pdf

American Humane Association
http://www.americanhumane.org

Physical Abuse in Children: Epidemiology and Clinical Manifestations
http://www.UptoDate.com

Child Abuse: Social and Medicolegal Issues
http://www.UptoDate.com

Child Neglect and Emotional Abuse
http://www.UptoDate.com

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
http://www.UptoDate.com


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2013

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