This research seeks to investigate the scope of child abuse in the United States. This is because child abuse seems hidden epidemic in the country, as there are close to 3 million reported cases of child abuse annually. For instance, the statistics from a 2007 survey indicate close 5.8 million children got involved in over 3.2 allegations and reports of child abuse. Other observations made concerning child abuse in the United States involve a child suffers abuse every ten minutes, rising numbers of children who die every day because of abuse, and child abuse occurs in the whole society ranging from religious institutions to educational facilities. The questions, this research answers, include the causes of child abuse and the measures taken by professionals, to address this problem.
A comparative case study is the method employed in this research. This research utilizes a comparative case study in the topic of discussion due to availability of material related to the topic of discussion, which is child abuse. By looking at previous research and studies done on the topic of discussion, this research ascertains various reasons alluded as the cause of child abuse in the United States. In addition, this research comes up with the viable steps taken by professionals, to address the problem of child abuse.
Child abuse in the United States is the responsibility of local governments and states. All states have passed laws that define maltreatment and child abuse (Cassel & Bernstein, 2007). The laws enacted also determine the need for outside intervention, and identifies the administrative and judicial structures responsible for dealing with child abuse and maltreatment. According to the enacted laws, child abuse entails anything done or not done by institutions, processes or individuals that harm children, or directly or indirectly damages their prospects of a health development into adulthood. Child abuse sometime involves the death of a child or harming of a child through emotional, physical, sexual, cruel or neglect acts. The term "child abuse" also refers to an act done by an adult to a child or any person under the age of 18 years (Sturt, 2006).
Scope of the problem
Extensive research has taken place on the scope of child abuse in the United States. According to the data available, the authorities get reports concerning child abuse every ten seconds. Sturt alleges that close to 90% of child fatalities result from maltreatment a thing not indicated on the death certificates. Child abuse is blamed at all socioeconomic levels, and these include schools, religious institutions and homes. Research asserts that 68% victims undergo abuse by family members. This proves the fact that almost 90% victims of child sexual abuse have knowledge of their perpetrators (Cassel & Bernstein, 2007).
This rampant nature of child abuse has inherent side effects. The effects associated with child abuse include the teens that have undergone child abuse indulge in unbecoming behavior thus ending up in jails. Secondly, the child abuse trend continues as those who suffered from it pass it on their kids. Thirdly, some kids end up with a psychological disorder from abuse, and the teens that suffered child abuse are likely to engage in unprotected sex, a case that puts their life in more danger.
Underlying causes of Child Abuse
Firstly, experts assert that one of the causes of child abuse is the self-fulfilling or circle theory. According to the experts, many people abused, when they were young tend to pass it on to their kids. This explains why both sexual and physical abuse is on the increase in the United States. Secondly, there is increasing pressures in families. These increasing pressures arise among couples who cohabit with no legal bonds sealing their marriages. Infidelity in such marriages is on the high, which leads one of the parents passing the pressure on the children. Thirdly, the fact that a modern society like the United States denies people the basic outlet of sexual desire through the outlawing of prostitution makes the adults who suffer most to go perform it in the secret of their houses (Iwaniec, 2006). This harms the children in return. Research asserts that a boy of 12 years can earn several dollars by selling himself on the streets of Los Angeles. This explains why child abuse is on the rise due to the banning of prostitution. Child abuse is also on the increase due to increased economic pressures on the parents. The recent upsurge in the prices of commodities has increased child abuse in the form of neglect. Many parents choose to neglect some basic needs of their children due to financial constraints (Iwaniec, 2006).
Steps taken, by professionals to Address the Child Abuse Problem
There are several preventive steps taken by different bodies to address the problem of child abuse. Firstly, a helping agency called Health Families Illinois that provides intensive, and a continued home visits, educated parents with new babies on how to handle their children. This agency also advice parents on the importance of accessing a community service in case of a problem in their homes. Secondly, the government and agencies have set up workshops that assist in educating parents regarding care of their children (Cassel & Bernstein, 2007). The social works have also advocated for implementation of rules that bar parents from mistreating their children. These rules have stipulated harsh fines, which limit the rate of abuse on children, as parents fear the consequences. Schools are also on the forefront campaign against child abuse. Schools have participated in this campaign through reporting of any injuries they suspect to parents inflicted on the child. The schools also educate children on their rights and advice them to report any cases of abuse perpetrated to them by anyone (Sturt, 2006).
There are several forms of abuse perpetrated on children. All these forms amount to child abuse if a victim does not exceed the age of 18 years. Research asserts that most of child abuse occurs in homes or by people known to children. Increased pressures and the self-fulfillment theory form underlying causes of child abuse in the United States. Banning of prostitution contributes to child abuse since it makes men resort to children who are less rebellious. Among the steps taken to address the issue, include workshops organized to educate both children and adults concerning child abuse, schools reporting any suspected form of abuse on children, and enactment of strict laws that control the behavior.