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There are four types of child abuse classified as emotional, which represent failure to provide adequate care, supervision and loving environment (involve verbal abuse, criticizes the child constantly); Physical such as beating, kicking and shaking; Sexual, which involve sexual activity between adult and child, where the adult gains sexual gratification from the activity and finally Institutional abuse, which involves child's physical, social or psychological welfare such as social services delivery systems - childcare institutions, schools, foster homes.
In early ages crime was studied by sociologists and psychologists through research, trying to understand the origins and causes of child abuse. This is a complex phenomenon with multiple causes.
There are numerous theories that have been developed to understand the root causes of abuse and the link between abuse causes and the risk factors of living in a deprived area. Chicago school (Zone Hypothesis), Social Learning Theories and Social Control Theory are three examples of extensive, different and complemented theories within the study of crime.
Those three theories will be explained, discussed and associated to the Child abuse disproportionately concentrated in areas that are particularly socially deprived.
Robert Park and Ernest Burges (1920s) developed a program of urban research in the sociology department at the University of Chicago based on the phenomenally rapid growth of Chicago and the effects of Urbanism. That research was called "Zone Hypothesis" and it was a model developed to explain the organization of urban areas and to explain the existence of social problems such as poor housing, unemployment, broken families, low income and another problems in certain areas of Chicago.
This project would take the form of a map with five rings with areas of social and cultural life. As Burges suggests, at the heart of the circles is the zone I, known as business area that has high property values and small residential population. Outside of Zone I, is the most important area for Criminology studies called Zone of Transition. This is an area which has more transient population resulted by emigration and has a particular characteristic- overcrowded and inhabited by poor emigrants. Beyond this zone lay three residential zones. Burges's argument that newcomers gradually moved outward into better zones as they became adapted and familiarised into American cultural life. Zone III is occupied by people who have escaped from zone II, called by working class; Zone IV, another residential zone occupied by middle-class and beyond this are suburban areas with higher income families, which makes up Zone V.
This Theme was developed and refined by Shaw and McKay in their elaboration of "Juvenile Delinquency and urban areas" research. In their respect, they found important patterns concerning the social and geographical distribution of crime and delinquency. Zone II in particular have higher rates of crime than any other zone; they associated this measures with the successive waves of emigrants, poor housing and lack of moral guides and stable community structure. They conclude that crime rates tended consistently to be higher in areas of socio-economic deprivation rather than in areas of high socio- economic status; this research was made through a census questionnaire.
In their formulation, Social disorganization exists when the structure and culture of a community are incapable of implementing and expressing the values of its own residences including the value of a non delinquent future for one's children. That explain crime and delinquency by cultural transmission of values, in other words, people's behaviour is conditioned by the behaviour of others and this circle of deprivation is confirmed when this poor values are passed by families and the neighbourhood. Delinquent values are transmitted from generation to generation which various criminal activities such as violent behaviour are learned by young boys from the older's ones in the area. This phenomenon accords well with social learning approach which is a theory within psychology and sees offending as something that is learned.
An American Sociologist and Criminologist named Sutherland had got the idea that conduct is learned through contact with social norms, therefore the behaviour is influenced by the norms present in particular groups. This process is described as Differential Association.
This theory was important because bring both psychological and sociological matters to bear on the question of how to understand criminal conduct.
The term Differential Association points two major elements of the theory: that criminal behaviour is learned and that it is learned in association with others.
The emergence of social Learning theory and the work of Albert Bandura illustrated how social learning theory combining with the idea that observational learning is important in understanding human behaviour.
Social Learning theory is associated primarily with Bandura and extends Sutherland's theory of differential association. Motivation are also considered by Bandura and he pointed three types- Environment, Observing others and pleasure or pride from one's own actions. In this sense, we learn from observing others and influenced of they are high status.
One of Bandura best experiences is known as the "Bobo doll study", where he examined and measures the impact of watching filmed images of aggression on children.
Groups of children were exposed to a number of conditions on which adults models responded in various ways to similar dilemmas.
Results showed that in general, children imitated their models responses even where these responses conflicted with their own usual style of reasoning.
From this perspective, Child Abuse viewed as one part of a learned lifestyle.
Not all abusers are intentionally harming their children. Many have been victims of abuse themselves and do not know any other way of parenting.
As it says above, on the Zone transition (zone theory) is classified as poor area, where can be found high levels of deprivation, poor housing, unemployment or low income and those social structure factors have direct effect on the development of offending in young people.
Parents with insecure employments, low income or poor housing have little time and energy to supervise controls their children, to do things with them or to discuss their projects and problems.
All children need love, discipline, encouragement from their parents and caregiver, normally child which do not receive those kinds of threats grow up with needs, and even some of them think they deserve to get punished, unfortunately when they get their role as parents they do not have a base of what family means.
In the late 1950s- 1960s another theory came across with different perspectives about crime and tends to assume that human conduct is driven by desires and needs and that, therefore, we are all predisposed to deviance.
The culture and social disorganization are both Control Theories in sense that they explain delinquency in terms of the absence of affective controls. David Matza and Gresham Sykes were focused on Juvenile delinquency and they created their Neutralization Theory and Drift.
Based on Sutherland's Differential Association theory, neutralisation is defined as technique, which allows the person to justify a criminal act- e.g. Mother ignored her child needs.
They found five techniques of neutralisation:
Denial of responsibility, which is a technique used when the offender give the responsibility of the criminal act as an accident. They tend to justify their criminal as a fault of their parents, neighbourhood and peers.
Denial of Injury, which occurs when the criminal act does not cause harm to the victim. - "I assumed that a criminal action meant hurting someone, I did not hurt my child"
Denial of victim is used when the crime is viewed as a punishment, such as beating the child, with the common statement: " he deserve it because he did not listen to me"
Condemnation of the condemners, it is a technique using negative images against those are opposed to criminal behaviour such as corrupt judges and police, displaying deviant behaviour as victimizing and condemners as hypocrites.
Appeal to higher loyalties, which is a technique used when a person feels that act against the law will benefit their small group or a member of the family.
Not all of these techniques could be used to justify a Child abuse but those are the most common justification to commit criminal acts.
So, neutralization techniques were used to justify and legitimise deviant activity. Later, Mazda, argue that delinquents were not especially committed to their illicit activities but, rather, through a process of drift, they become involved in such behaviour; in other words, delinquency occurs when desperation are present in individual life because of an extraordinary occasion, the person had the feeling of lacking control. Usually, lack of control is associated for example with financial problems, loosing job and some personal or situation factors that drive parents to a frustration and stress which is transmitted to the child by Physical abuse as an example. The more an individual is frustrated, the more likely it is that this individual will display aggressive and anti-social behaviours in the future.
Control theories, according to Hirschi, assume that deviance occurs when an individual bond to society is weak or broken.
Hirschi identifies four elements that represent major social bonds:
Attachment, which he considered the most important element for the simple reason that "if a person does not care about the wishes and expectations of the other people- That is, if he is insensitive to the opinion of others- then he is to that extent not bound by the norms." He is free to deviant.
Commitment, refers to the investment of time, energy etc, that people put into particular activities such as educational activities, building a business. When he considers deviant behaviour, the person much considers the costs of that behaviour.
Involvement refers of people involved in conventional activities, so less time or opportunity for delinquency activities.
Belief commonly attached to various cultural goals, less likely to be an offender.
When this four elements are not working together, the delinquent is free of such controls specially attachment. (Newburn, 2007)
Hirshi theory was tested using self report with four thousands high school pupils. He found that strong attachment between pupil and parents are reported fewer acts of delinquency than those reporting less strong attachment. Also he found that those reporting higher rates of delinquent activity tended to have less investment in education achievement and lower educational aspirations.
Overall, children who are physically abused, ignored by their parents who let them children roam the streets unsupervised from an early age or neglected, tend to become offenders later in life.
The most famous demonstration of this was completed by Widow (1989). "She used court records to identify over nine hundred children who had been abused or neglected before age eleven, and compared them with a control group matched on age, race, gender, elementary school class and place of residence. A twenty years follow up showed that children, who were abused, were more likely to be arrested for commit Juvenile violence." (Farrington: 2006)
To summarise, there is a "strong link" between poverty and child abuse. Poverty implies multiple deprivations. Once a family are poor, for example in terms of income, are likely to suffer a range of other deprivations.
Danger may come from living with abusive or neglect parents or from an economic situation that unemployed people are unable to meet the basic needs of their children.
Chicago school have made a significant contribution to the study of Crime. Zone Theory helped to "decode" crime as a result of external social processes rather than caused by individual biological factors.
This theory was refined by Shaw and McKay, who found important contributions between social / geographical processes and crime and Delinquency.
All of the above findings are consisted with a social learning model which posits a combination of direct experiences and observational learning processes as fundamental in growth of tendencies towards aggressive anti-social behaviour and attitudes. The family is the most powerful of socialization in individual lives.
Through Bandura's studies the social learning theory was influential in placing the object of study on modelling and imitation.
The results suggest strongly that an adult is an agent of socialization for developing children that may influence their likelihood of being violent as adults.
Unlikely Social Learning theories, Control theories, which is another approach discussed in this essay, argue that all people have needs and desires and that influence their behaviours, even if that behaviour is not their natural way of acting. If a single mother, lose her job, have to look after a little babe, and face problems to pay the basic things such as clothes, food and shelter, she will probably feels frustrated, depressed and that could start a cycle of aggression behaviour. It is known that depressed mothers tend to show little interest in their children, less affectionate and generally little communication. This is only one example of how children can be affected by poor environment and social problems faced by their parents. Failure to provide loving environment is also considered emotional child abuse.
In this view much delinquency is unpredictable or accidental. Such behaviour may be understood by the person concerned to break moral injunctions, but means can be found to justify it or "neutralise" the guilty. It s the loosening of the sense of guilty, or of other controls, that forms the basis of the drift into delinquency.