One of the major problem which faces our

One of the major problem which faces our society today is child abuse. Sometimes
you wonder are your children safe from child abuse despite a lot of reports
about child abuse from newspaper and TV news. Child abuse is a national
epidemic and it is happening almost in everywhere. At this instant, it is
threatening the safety and well-being
of some children across the nation. However, public still lack the awareness
regarding child abuse as this problem is beyond their knowledge. Though there
is not much we can do, it’s still sad to think that someone would intentionally
hurt a child. According to American Academy of Pediatrics (1991), there are roughly
three million cases of child abuse and neglect involving almost 5.5 million
children are reported each year and many more cases are unreported or
undetected, often because the victims are afraid to tell somebody who can help.
In order to prevent child abuse from happening anymore, we must increase the
awareness of the issue itself. So, here come the question, what exactly is child
abuse? While there is no single definition of child abuse, the definition from
Radford L is the most comprehensive. Child abuse is any action by another
person (adult or child) that causes significant harm to a child (Radford L,
2011). It can be categories to four different types of abuse which are
physical, sexual, emotional or neglect. First, physical abuse of a child can happen
when any non-accidental physical damages such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts is done to a child because of beating, hair
pulling, kicking, throwing, shoving, burning and many others that can cause
physical damage by parents or caregivers (Childhelp.org, n.d). Moreover, when
the child is injured it is consider abuse does not matter if parents or
caregivers didn’t mean to cause injuries to them. Based on the definition from
Childhelp.org for sexual abuse, it occurs when a child is used by an adult for
sexual purpose of sexual acts (Childhelp.org, n.d). In addition, when a child
is forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities, it can also be
considered sexual abuse. Furthermore, it can also happen when a child is used
for sexual gratification or excitement by another child who is older or more
powerful. After all, sexual abuse does not have to be physical contact and it
can happen online. Sometimes the child doesn’t know that what’s happening to
them is abuse. They may not even know that it’s something wrong. Or they may be
afraid to speak out to other people. Then it is emotional abuse which can
happen when a parent or caregiver harm a child’s mental and social development
(Childhelp.org, n.d). It can happen when parents or caregivers are always
terrorizing, shaming, or humiliating their children so that their feeling can
be hurt. It is often difficult to prove because it causes a pattern of behavior
that causes damage over time even though there is only one incident has been
committed. When a child is put in danger intentionally or not protected from physical or emotional
harm, this result in emotional abuse. Victims from emotional abuse may not get
the attention and care they need from their parents. Besides that, child neglect
is also one of the common form of abuse. It is the ongoing failure to provide
care, supervision, affection, and support needed for a child’s health, safety,
and well-being. (Horwath,2017). Children need enough care from their
parents or caregivers so that they can be healthy and there is enough
supervision to be safe. Adults must provide safe shelter, clothing, food,
drink, and basic needs for the children. Furthermore, a child who’s neglected will often suffer from other abuse
as well because these abuses are always related. It is important to say that
child neglect is harmful and can cause serious or long-term damage and even
death to the children. Obviously, child abuse causes harmful consequences to
the children’s development and family life. They are still children and still
have a long way to go in their life so they should not suffer from child abuse
and leave traces of damages in their life. For this reason, all community must
cooperate and prevent this action from happening in children’s lives again.
This paper reviews consequences faced by victims in term of physical damage,
psychological disorder, behavioral changes and economical effects from child
abuse and government, parents, school, and community’s roles in preventing
child abuse and ways to solve it after it happened.

 

Child abuse results in long-lasting
physical and emotional damage and they may carry the scars for the rest of
their lives. Therefore, Child abuse should be taken seriously and preventive
measures should be carried out immediately to stop child abuse. It is easier to
stop child abuse happening at the beginning than to repair the damage done to
the child after child abuse happened. Government plays an important role in
child abuse prevention. Not only provides a variety of prevention services,
government always sponsors prevention activities. Some of the prevention
activities are prepared for everyone, for example, Public Service Announcement
(PSAs) had conducted many prevention activities to increase public awareness
about child maltreatment such as public awareness campaigns, skill-based
curricular, parent education programs, home visiting programs, leadership
programs, parent support groups, and family resources centre (U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services,2013). Others are specifically designed for
families who fall into the highest-risk group for child abuse and neglect. Key
of success for those prevention activities is the activities should be based on
research rather than depending on assumptions (Kamerman & Kahn, 1993). This
increases the confident of public towards the programs and funding of the
programs become easier. Besides, parents should always be involved in every
progress of the activities including planning, evaluating and implementing to
increase the effectiveness of the activities since parents are the closest
person to the children.

            Besides
from providing prevention activities, the punishment for child abuser is also
equally important in the prevention of child abuse. As Yusnany (2007.p.52)
point out, Malaysia has zero tolerance for child abuse. The government of
Malaysia has passed the Domestic Violence Act 1994 and the Child Act 2001 to
prevent child abuse and to make sure the child abuser receives deserved
punishment. Penal Code and the Evidence of Child Witness Act 2007 are other
laws that related to the case of child abuse. The government should also
enforce existing law to deter criminals from child abusing. For examples, the
child abuser should be punished for longer jail period and maximum lashes of
the cane. Legal action will also be taken for a parent to intentionally or
negligently injure a child physically or psychologically. In extreme cases, the
parent may be barred from approaching the child or complete termination of
parental rights to protect the child from abuse.

            As
the caretaker of the children, the parents are the greatest support to their
children. Parents have a duty to protect their child from any kind of harm.
However, a child may be injured due to the carelessness or lack of attention
from their parents. To prevent children from child abuse or recognize child
abuse as early as possible before the situation worsening, parents should
monitor and involve in their children’s lives and teach them rules of safety to
prevent them from becoming victim of child abuse (Natasha Daniels,2015). For
example, the parents could take part in their child’s daily activities, sport team
or clubs and show more concerns towards their child. Furthermore, they should
always be wary by checking the background and abuse policies of the
organisation to ensure that the organisation is safe and give suggestions to
the organisation when they feel something is not right about the organisation.
The more time the parents spend into their child’s activities, the higher
chance the children are safe from child abuse.

The parents also need to
communicate with their child frequently and encourage them to tell someone if
they are abused. The parents should teach the children about their rights to be
safe from abuse and it is not their fault if they are abused (Avellar, 2013).
Hence, the children are more likely to report an offender. Children who are victims
of child abuse often come with significant signs or changes in behaviour or
mood, the parents must know some common signs of abuse and make a report if
they suspect their child are abused. The parents may volunteer at a local child
abuse program to get more information about child abuse and how to prevent it.

According to Smith
(2017), some parents never learned the good parenting skills especially teen
parents who might have no idea about how much care the children need.
Sometimes, the parent themselves may become the child abuser especially those
parents who are a victim of child abuse, they only know how to raise the child
the way they are raised. Those parents really need to educate themselves by
improving their parenting skills and learn about alternative ways to discipline
their child besides from hitting them. Admitting into anger management course,
family support and life skills training programs will greatly improve their
parenting skills (Public Legal Education, 2007).

On the other hand, the schools
also play an essential role in protecting children from abuse. It is the duty
of the school to create safe, violence free environments free from child abuse
for the children. For some students, school is a safer place than home. The
teacher should give attention to high risk children who parents have poor
parenting skills, family violence problems, alcohol and drug problems, or
children with disabilities or communication (Alaine Fagin,1989). The teachers
have regular contact with children, so they should be trained to identify signs
of abuse and neglect and report to the authorities if the child is suspected to
be a victim of child abuse. The teachers have to interact with the children and
let them know you respect them to let the children feel comfortable to talk to
the teacher if they are abused in school. The teachers could also meet with
parents to understand the situation in the children’s family and give
suggestions to the parents to reduce the chance of child abuse and neglect.
Appropriate discipline is encouraged and schools should not mete out physical
punishment to children to avoid the children legitimise violent action.

Schools should ensure
that all adults who work in the school including volunteers do not have a
propensity of violence and check their background to ensure they do not have
any criminal record and are not potential child abuser. The school should have
a proper procedure for checking on staff before they are permitted to contact
with children. If a member of school staff is suspected of abusing a child,
that school staff should be quarantined before the investigation is completed
(Alaine Fagin,1989).  As well as having
child protection procedures in place, schools should teach the child about
basic knowledge to protect themselves from harm such as refrain from risky
behaviour, avoid any inappropriate physical contact with adults, how to deal
with study stress and prevent any inappropriate relationships at school (Alane
Fagin,1989). The children need to be educated with information about child
abuse and how to get help. Teach students about child development and parenting
so they become parents less likely to abuse their children is one of the
effective measures to prevent child abuse at early stage.

Community is responsible
to counter child abuse and report abuse and neglect cases to the department in
charge once discovered. The community should know the signs of child abuse by
looking for changes in the child or family in trouble such as poverty, family
violence or divorce (Sam Davidson,2016). Everyone in the community should get
to know their neighbours and try to reach out to children in the community.
Members of the community should offer to help a family under stress by offering
to babysit, help with chores or suggest resources that can help if the problems
are beyond their abilities. These small acts could bring a huge change to the
family. Community needs to get involved in outreach programs such as parenting
classes, child development education and resources as to aware of this problem.
(Sam Davidson,2016). Moreover, the community should keep their neighbourhood
safe by starting a Neighbourhood Watch event to promote relationship between
neighbours while maintaining the safety of the neighbourhood and children.

 

According to U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services (2004), a Blue Ribbon Campaign could be
hold by the community to raise the awareness of the public on the issues of
child abuse. In 1989, Bonnie W. Finney of Virginia tied a blue ribbon to the
antenna of her van to remind other people the tragic story behind the death of
her grandson because of child abuse. Blue colour was chosen to remind herself
of the bruised bodies of her grandson. Since then, the Blue Ribbon Campaign has
been participated by millions of people across the world by wearing the blue
ribbons and joining in community activities to help prevent child abuse in
their community and provide support to the needed families.

 

As shown above, child abuse is a worldwide problem
affecting children. There are different types of child abuse which are physical
abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and child neglect. As you can see child
abuse can cause negative effects in many ways which cause physical damages,
psychological disorder, behavioral changes, and economical effect. It is
important to note that victims from child abuse will suffer from severe and
long term physical damage. Follow by physical damages is psychological disorder
which cause a life-time consequence to the children because it leaves a
horrible memory in their mind. With that horrible memory, their behavior will
change as they grow older. Child abuse also causes economical effect as the economic
burden result from child abuse is high. On the other hand, it also proves that
it is not necessary a stranger that carries out the abuses, it’s often the
family or the closed one. Any abuse will have a scar on the life of the child.
Physical abuse may leave a lifetime mark on their body but it is psychology
that has the most damages in their life especially if they are abuse by someone
they trust and rely on. Children need to live in a world without abuse. They
need to be happy and enjoy their childhood. However, very few can do so. The
prevailing myth which is a misleading fallacy is that children are only abused
if it is physical. Yet it is other abuse like sexual abuse or emotional abuse
that cause the most damage to the victims. It is also easy to forget that
emotional abuse and child neglect will have serious and, even more, damaging
impact on the child. Besides, many people believe that the only abuser are bad
people. A lot of people have protected their children from these bad people but
have left them in the hand of parents and guardians that are real monsters.
Most parents that were abused when young could follow what their parents had
done to them to their children. This is not because they have the intention to
abuse but they don’t know about other ways in parenting their children. Moreover,
many people believe that abuse will not happen in rich or in other term good
families. However, the truth is that they are hiding a lot on the inside and
never reveal it. In order to make the world a peaceful and safe place to live
for children we must stop child abuse with any necessary means. We must take
care of our children with best of our ability and with utmost efficiency and
strongly oppose, protest and fight against child abuse and the abusers. Undeniably,
every individual must contribute in preventing child abuse from happening
anymore. In fact, the roles of government, parents, schools, and community in
preventing child abuse is very important. Without government helps in making
all those policy and support child welfare organization, there is no
possibility that child abuse can be stopped. People will just abuse their
children and still can get away with it because they know they won’t be punished.
Furthermore, funding on child welfare organization would provide support for
those in need of child welfare assistant and prevent them from child abuse. Parents
would be the most important factor to prevent child abuse as they are the
closest to their children. It is their job to make sure their children are
living safe and it is their responsibility to take good care of the children. Children
send the most time in school follow by home hence schools also have the
responsibility to protect children from child abuse. As we know that children
of the same age could be one of the abuser, the educator must pay attention to
children activity and recognize the signs of child abuse. There is no denied
that community can help prevent child abuse. The community must look for signs
of child abuse if they suspect any inappropriate family activity of behavior of
the children. After all, it might not easy to stop it all at once but with the
help of everyone, one day our children will be safe from all these abuses and
live a happy and safe life.