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Defining Child Maltreatment


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Defining Child Maltreatment

  1. 1. DEFINING CHILD MALTREATMENT 2007 Miller-Perrin, Cindy L. & Perrin, Robin. Child Maltreatment: An introduction, Chapter 1
  2. 2. <ul><li>Chapter 1, pp. 5-7 </li></ul>Common Myths about Child Maltreatment
  3. 3. Myth 1: <ul><li>The Greatest Risk to Children is Outside the Home </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Child maltreatment experts agree that the risk of victimization and injury is likely greater at home than on the most dangerous city streets. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>50% of all child homicide victims under the age of 10 are killed by family members. Conservatively, 1500 children die annually as a result of abuse and neglect. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Child maltreatment is, perhaps more than society cares to acknowledge, a problem that occurs within the family. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Myth 2: <ul><li>Child maltreatment has reached epidemic levels. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compared with children in the past, today’s children are probably exposed to far less neglect and mistreatment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mandated reporter laws led to dramatic increases in child maltreatment reports, investigations, and services. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research indicates that overall, child maltreatment rates actually have declined. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Myth 3: <ul><li>Risk Factors Cause Child Maltreatment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We must resist the temptation to equate correlation with causation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The presence of certain risk factors may increase the probability of child maltreatment, but risk factors alone do not completely explain child maltreatment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For example, a childhood history of abuse is neither a necessary nor a sufficient cause of adult violence. In fact, the majority of abused children do not grow up to be abusive adults. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Myth 4: <ul><li>Child Maltreatment Sometimes “Just Happens,” and We Should Not Make Too Much of It </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Historically, the social and legal costs attached to child maltreatment were low exactly because society has accepted the “it just happens” justification. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If it were a stranger who injured the child, would we dismiss his actions as a “momentary loss of control?” Nor would we allow the assailant to blame the victim. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Myth 5: <ul><li>Minor Acts of Child Maltreatment Are Always Trivial and Inconsequential </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The potential negative effects of minor violence within the family, including corporal punishment, have long been the subject of debate. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social scientists are increasingly willing to condemn the use of “legitimate violence,” in large part because of the belief that such violence sometimes “spills over” into other forms of violence both within and outside the family. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Chapter 1, pp. 16-23 </li></ul>Social Construction-of-Deviance Definitions of Child Maltreatment
  9. 9. The Problem with Definitions <ul><li>Definitions of child abuse change through history and are different across states and countries. </li></ul><ul><li>Because definitions are negotiated by competing claims makers, there is inevitable ambiguity. </li></ul><ul><li>The problem with differences in definitions of child maltreatment in research is that it makes it hard to compare results among the wide variety of research. </li></ul><ul><li>Defining and assessing specific forms of child maltreatment constitute one of the most extensive and controversial areas of inquiry in the study of family violence. </li></ul>
  10. 10. 4 Conceptualizations of Family Violence <ul><li>Violence – An act carried out with the intention of, or an act perceived as having the intention of, physically hurting another person. </li></ul><ul><li>Gelles and Straus – Two continuums of family violence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legitimate – Illegitimate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instrumental – Expressive </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These two continuums create four distinct categories of family violence. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Family Violence – Type 1 <ul><li>Legitimate – (a violent act that is culturally condoned, e.g., slapping the hand of a 3-year-old.) </li></ul><ul><li>Expressive – (violence is an ends in itself, e.g., hitting someone out of anger) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Violence is a catharsis. This is reflected in the belief that spanking helps the parent get frustration with the child “out of his/her system.” </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Family Violence – Type 2 <ul><li>Illegitimate – (a violent act that is culturally condemned, e.g., punching the face of a 3-year-old.) </li></ul><ul><li>Expressive – (violence is an ends in itself, e.g., hitting someone out of anger) </li></ul><ul><li>This is the most recognized and publicized kind of child abuse. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Family Violence – Type 3 <ul><li>Legitimate – (a violent act that is culturally condoned, e.g., slapping the hand of a 3-year-old.) </li></ul><ul><li>Instrumental – (violence is used as an end, e.g., aggressor’s motivation is to curb the behavior.) </li></ul><ul><li>This is the most widely occurring type of child maltreatment. It includes the physical punishment of children. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Family Violence – Type 4 <ul><li>Illegitimate – (a violent act that is culturally condemned, e.g., punching the face of a 3-year-old.) </li></ul><ul><li>Instrumental – (violence is used as an end, e.g., aggressor’s motivation is to curb the behavior.) </li></ul><ul><li>This is punishment that the parent claims is “for the child’s own good” but that society defines as abuse. </li></ul>
  15. 15. U.S. Federal Definition of Child Abuse <ul><li>The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (42 U.S.C.A. §5106g), as amended by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This definition of child abuse and neglect refers specifically to parents and other caregivers. A &quot;child&quot; under this definition generally means a person who is under the age of 18 or who is not an emancipated minor. </li></ul><ul><li>While CAPTA provides definitions for sexual abuse and the special cases related to withholding or failing to provide medically indicated treatment, it does not provide specific definitions for other types of maltreatment such as physical abuse, neglect, or emotional abuse. While Federal legislation sets minimum standards, each State is responsible for providing its own definition of maltreatment within civil and criminal contexts. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Within the minimum standards set by CAPTA, each State is responsible for </li></ul><ul><li>providing its own definitions of child abuse and neglect. Most States recognize four major types of maltreatment: </li></ul><ul><li>physical abuse </li></ul><ul><li>neglect </li></ul><ul><li>sexual abuse </li></ul><ul><li>emotional abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Source: “What is Child Abuse and Neglect?” </li></ul>Major Types of Child Maltreatment
  17. 17. Physical Abuse <ul><li>Nonaccidental physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child. </li></ul><ul><li>Such injury is considered abuse regardless of whether the caregiver intended to hurt the child. </li></ul><ul><li>Physical discipline, such as spanking or paddling, is not considered abuse as long as it is reasonable and causes no bodily injury to the child. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Neglect <ul><li>The failure of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to provide for a child’s basic needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Neglect may be: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical (e.g., failure to provide necessary food or shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medical (e.g., failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Educational (e.g., failure to educate a child or attend to special education needs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional (e.g., inattention to a child’s emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sometimes cultural values, the standards of care in the community, and poverty may be contributing factors, indicating the family is in need of information or assistance. When a family fails to use information and resources, and the child’s health or safety is at risk, then child welfare intervention may be required. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Sexual Abuse <ul><li>Includes activities by a parent or caregiver such as fondling a child’s genitals, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy, indecent exposure, and exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials. </li></ul><ul><li>Defined by CAPTA as “the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct; or the rape, and in cases of caretaker or inter-familial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children.” </li></ul>
  20. 20. Emotional Abuse <ul><li>A pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance. </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional abuse is often difficult to prove and, therefore, child protective services may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm or mental injury to the child. Emotional abuse is almost always present when other forms are identified. </li></ul>