Every child on this planet has the right to feel protected and grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Unfortunately, many children remain deprived of these basic rights due to child abuse and neglect. What is even more heartrending is the fact that in most cases, it is none other than the child’s own family who subject them various kinds of abuses and neglect. Aside from bruises and broken bruises, the tormenting experience can inflict deep emotional wounds; leaving the victim scarred for life. With the problem becoming increasing prominent across the globe, it’s become more important than ever to come up with a way to curtail it. Before that can be done, it’s imperative that the magnitude and causes of child abuse and neglect are understood.
Child abuse and neglect getting increasingly prominent across the globe
Child abuse and neglect is turning out to be a universal issue, not even sparing the most industrialized countries. Everywhere from the United States and the UK to Japan and Australia, an alarming high number of cases of child abuse and neglect are coming to light. According to the figures released by UNICEF in 2011, over 20,000 American kids were believed to have died from at the hands of their family over the past decade. Of course, the overall instances of child abuse were much higher. Even though more recent reports indicate an improvement in various types of child abuse, the number of child deaths continues to be on the rise, thus highlight the need to identify and deal with all causes of child abuse. The situation is nothing short of dire in UK either. Statistics released by NSPCC last year revealed that approximately 50,500 kids in the UK are known to be at the risk of child abuse, whereas one in four young adults were severely maltreated during their childhood. The situation is hardly different, if not worse, in Australia and Japan. According to statistics released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the incidence and prevalence of child abuse and neglect has grown across the nation, rising from 31,500 to 37,800 in a matter of 12 months. Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare publicized statistics that showed a record 66,807 child abuse cases being reported in just one year ending last March. Child advocacy groups in the country feel that the problem is evidently growing bigger with every passing day. An important thing to keep in mind is that not all cases of child abuse or neglect get reported to the authorities. The actual statistics may be much higher.
Factors contributing to child abuse and neglect
Various causes of child abuse have been identified over the years. One of the most common factors contributing to the issue is financial problems. Aggression against children is not uncommon in households that are constantly stretching to make the ends meet. Unwanted pregnancies are also found to contribute to child abuse and regret. People who enter parenthood reluctantly are less likely to treat their child humanely and provide him or her with a healthy and peaceful environment to grow in. Many new parents also engage in child abuse because they are either not ready for the responsibility of raising a child, or simply don’t know what else to do. Decline in nuclear family, and unawareness of effects of child abuse are other reasons behind growing prevalence of child abuse across the globe.
Possible measures to curtail the issue
The plague of child abuse and neglect may be widespread, but it’s nothing that can’t be handled through committed effort and strong resolve of not just the governments and child protection services agencies, but also of every individual who wants to bring about a change. Governments should increase their focus on providing better child care services to parents and introduce stricter laws against child abuse. Child protection services agencies need to educate and support new parents to raise their kids in a healthy and appropriate manner. Every individual needs to play their part by reporting suspicion or situation of child abuse to authorities immediately.
Child abuse is a disease that needs to be removed from the society as soon as possible. The physical and mental well-being of countless innocent kids is at stake.