Child Abuse and Neglect Essay

2083 Words 9 Pages
Child abuse is the “saddest and most tragic problem” in the United States today (Child Abuse). Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children. Victims range from ages of a few weeks to late teenage years. While most child abuse cases are not fatal, some do end in death. Some researchers have even labeled child abuse an “epidemic.” Because more than fifty percent of child abuse cases are not reported, the exact numbers will never be known. In the 1970's the United States government issued a survey about the number of child abuse cases. The survey showed that there are more than 60,000 cases of child abuse in some form each year. Another survey, in 1976 …show more content…
Sexual child abuse has no real definition. It can be characterized as “any adult that allows themselves to force or coerce a child into a sexual activity” (Understanding . . . 1). This may include fondling a child’s genitals, masturbation, oral-genital contact, digital penetration, and vaginal or anal intercourse. Effects of sexual child abuse on the victim may include anxiety, guilt, fear, sexual dysfunction, withdrawal, and acting out. More long term effects may include anxiety went associating with the opposite sex or inappropriate sexual knowledge, sexual interest, or sexual acting out by the young victim. Research has led researchers to believe that child sexual abuse victims are more likely to be victims of rape or physically abusive relationships as adults. Studies also show that the majority of perpetrators are family members or are known by the child. Although it is thought that homosexual men are more commonly the perpetrators, heterosexual men are actually more likely to be the perpetrator (Understanding . . . 4). Emotional abuse is classified as “anything that is said or done to hurt a child’s feelings or self-esteem”(Havelin 7). Words are not the only type of emotional abuse. Locking a child in a closet is also emotional abuse because it causes the child to feel negatively about themselves. Neglect is when a parent or guardian ignores or chooses not to take care of a child’s physical needs. Under law, parents must
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