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Child Abuse Paper - Essay Example

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Child Abuse Introduction In Canada, 50-year old grandparents were sentenced to 3 years in prison after it was discovered that they locked their 3-year old granddaughter in a furnace room, frequently struck about the head, and was not fed at times. (CBC News) In Buffalo, New York, a stepfather was charged with second-degree murder when he confessed to beating his 10-year-old stepson to death while the boy’s hands were tied and his mouth was taped with a sock inside…
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Download file to see previous pages (Roberts) It is both shocking and disheartening that the abuse of children, despite the legal sanctions in place in every part of the world, is still so rampant. This paper will attempt to discuss the history of child abuse, the different forms of the crime and the punishment set for abusers. Historical Background Throughout history, children have been abused and neglected. This is said to be a result of the low value placed on children. (Weisberg) The maltreatment of children has its roots in ancient times. Two examples from the Bible that stand out are when a Pharaoh orders babies to be killed during Moses’ time and when King Herod instructs the killing of infants during Christ’s birth. It is said that children were considered “property” in ancient times and were easily sold, mutilated, killed or used as sacrifice for the gods. (Volpe) This disregard for children continued until the Middle Ages. During this period, unwanted children served as apprentices while those with deformities were declared omens of evil and were killed. (Child Abuse) Parents and even teachers in the Medieval Period believed that beating the child was the norm for instilling discipline. (Snell) Because society did not see it wrong parents teach their children by way of spanking or hitting the latter, most of the reported cases of child abuse were between masters and servants, who were children. (Child Abuse) The case of Mary Allen McCormack in 1874 was the first time a victim of child abuse was brought out in the open. McCormack had been given up for adoption and was physically abused by her adoptive mother until her neighbors brought her case to the Department of Public Charities and Corrections. (Markel) Ironically, the case was initiated by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as there were no laws to protect children from physical abuse inflicted by parents. Fortunately, the case triggered movements for the formulation and enforcement of laws to rescue and protect abused children. (Watkins) Forms of Child Abuse According to the World Health Organization, child abuse and neglect is defined as “all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development or dignity.” (Child Maltreatment) Physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and negligent treatment, emotional abuse and exploitation are the five types of child abuse. Each of these may be described in various ways in different nations. In the United States for example, although the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) gives the minimum criterion for physical child abuse, child neglect, and sexual abuse, it also only defines sexual abuse and special cases concerning withholding or failing to provide medically indicated treatment. (Pecora, et. al.) Physical abuse is generally inflicting bodily harm to a child when in anger. The trauma should be non-accidental. This is also referred to battered child syndrome. People who beat children are often those abused themselves when they were young. Nevertheless, alcoholism, domestic violence, drug abuse, lack of education, poverty and being a single parent can increase the risk of abuse. (Child Abuse - ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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