The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 closes a legal loophole, (whereby defendants in murder and manslaughter cases could escape conviction by claiming each other had killed the child), by creating a new offence of causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult. The offence establishes a new criminal responsibility for members of a household where they know that a child or vulnerable adult is at significant risk of serious harm.(NSPCC, 2010)
This Act is about the focus on criminal justice upon legal protection and assistance to victims of crime, particularly domestic violence. It expands to the provision for trials without a jury, brings in new rules for trials for causing the death of a child or vulnerable adult, permits bailiffs to use force to enter homes.(Wikipedia, 2011)
What are children’s need?
The definition of children’s needs is not easy. Katz suggested that ‘one of the most salient aspects of the field of early childhood education is the sharp divergence of views among workers and clients concerning what young children “need” as well as how and when these “needs” should be satisfied’ (Katz 1977:69). Maslow (1954) identified three types of need: primary needs (air, food, sleep); emotional needs (love, security); and social needs (acceptance by ones peers).
What Law says about children’s right?
Children’s rights focuses on the domestic laws and policies that affect child health and social welfare, education and special needs, child labour and exploitation, sale and trafficking of children, and juvenile justice. The children’s rights movement promotes legal protections and safeguards for children, distinct from those of adult.
How to safeguard a child?
The solution in order to protect children from being abuse is going on the extra mile to care about the children’s life after school hours in order to keep a relationship between the family. It is essential that to understand the families’ background because we might not able to understand them better through the children. We need people to be more caring.
What is abuse?
Abuse is an attempt to control the behaviour of another person. It is a misuse of power which uses the bond of intimacy, trust and dependency to make victim vulnerable.(novavita,nd) There are types of abuses:-
psychological / emotional
Physical abuse is often the most easily recognized form of abuse. Hitting, shaking, burning, pinching, biting, choking, throwing, beating and other actions are categorized as physical abuse, it may also cause physical injury, leave marks or cause pains.
Sexual abuse is a sexual act or contact between an adult and anyone younger than 18 years old; between a significantly older child and a younger child; or if one person overpowers another, regardless of age.
Psychological or emotional can be the most difficult to identify because there are usually no outward signs of the abuse. This abuse happens when yelling and anger go too far or when parents constantly criticise, threaten, or dismiss kids or teens until their self-esteem and feelings of self-worthy is damaged. Emotional abuse can hurt and cause damage just as physical abuse do.
Neglect is difficult to identify and define. Neglect occurs when a child doesn’t have the primary needs like food, shelter, clothes, medical care or supervision. Emotional neglects happen when a parent doesn’t provide enough emotional support or deliberately and consistently pays very little or no attention to the child. This doesn’t mean that a parent doesn’t give a kid something he or she wants, like a new computer or a cell phone, but more to basic needs like food , shelter and love.
What improvements has been done between the Children’s Act 1989 and Children’s Act 2004?
After the astonishing incident of Victoria Climbie, the Act was created with a certain goals. It built in such a way that to give boundaries and help for local authorities and/or other entitles to better regulate official intervention in the interests of children. The Act also made changes to the law that pertain to children, notably on foster homes,adoption agencies, babysitting services and the handling of child-related crimes and crimes against children.
Reasons of child abuse
There are many factors that are potentially to start child abuse. Most commonly are the past events of child abusers that they experienced while they were young and as they grow up, they think that its fine to hit or beat a child, in other words which is teaching them a lesson. Another factor is that parents or child abuser cannot withstand children’s nuisance especially when parents are undergoing stress or other aspects that they are not in rationale state to cause abuse to happen.
The causes of child abuse are too much to be narrowed down to a single cause. Most of the time, there are multiple factors are in play. For example, a father is an alcoholic and some part of the family system is caught up in a cycle of abuse that spans generation of the family. Now we can say that the alcoholic may be a contributing factor to the dysfunction, but there is also the generational factor to consider.
Therefore, analysing the cause of child abuse , it’s easier to break it into sub categories which put children at risk for being abuse and neglect. These includes the social-economic causes of child abuse, family environment, parental profile and child-related characteristics. The term “causes of child abuse” is in reality about the conditions which may make child abuse more likely. There are 4 major causes of child abuse:
Social – economics
Family income level
Differing cultural value
Institutionalized manifestations of abuse
Age of the Parents
Past history of abuse
Drug and alcohol problems
Mental health problems
Low prevalence of social ties
Refusal to believe their way of parenting is wrong
The parent is mentally handicapped in a way that doesn’t enable him or her to provide proper care for their children
Having unrealistic expectations for their children and little knowledge of the developmental stages children go through.
Age of the child
The child has physical or mental handicaps
The was unwanted and/or reminds the parent of an absent partner or spouse
Child’s personality is not a good fit with the parents’ personalities
Reduced positive interaction between a parent and child due to separation from a parent during critical development periods.
Impact of each different types of abuse
Physical child abuse effects vary from child to child depending on six factors:
severity of the physical abuse
How hard a child is struck is only one aspect of severity. The implement the child is struck with is also a factor. This does not mean that using an open hand or fist will result in fewer or lesser effects; the harm done to the child is measured both by physical injury and emotional injury
frequency of the physical abuse
A single incident of physical abuse can result in severe trauma, but generally, the more often the physical abuse occurs the greater the impact on the child.
age of the child when physical abuse began
The younger the child was at the on set of physical abuse, the greater the imprint, and thus, the greater the impact. This particularly evident when the abuse continues throughout the child’s life.
child’s relationship to the abuser
When a child has a very close relationship with his/her abuser, the feeling of betrayal are that much greater; the very person who is supposed to protect is instead hurting that child.
availability of support persons
When a child has no one to turn to, increased feelings to abandonment occur, which in turns adds to the physical child abuse effects.
child’s ability to cope
A child will find a way to cope with the abuse. The methods a child uses can add to the effects. Coping skills can be:
Emotional abuse effects are directly connected to the relationship between the victim and abuser. The closer the relationship, the more devastating the effects on the child or youth. As the intensity, frequency and duration of abuse increases, so does the effect on the psyche of that child or youth. The negative messages of emotional child abuse causes inner damage that either destroys or impairs the development of a positive sense of self. Emotional child abuse is by definition “constant negative messages”, but even a single message of rejection can have long-lasting negative effects on the child or youth.
lags in physical development
failure to thrive
inability to trust others
inappropriate behaviour for age
engaging in risky behaviours
inability to control emotions
questioning of religious beliefs
The effects of child neglect are not limited to the children in the neglectful families. Research is now showing that effects last well into adulthood. And not just emotionally, but physically as well.
Sexual abuse effects on children and youth can be evident in emotional, physical and behavioural ways. These effects can be just as devastating whether there was only one occurrence or there were repeated occurrences. Sexual abuse cannot be compared, because each abuse experience is unique. Children are vulnerable to sexual abuse because of their age, size and innocence. When a child or youth is molested, she/he learns that adults cannot be trusted for care and protection: well-being is disregarded, and there is a lack of support and protection. These lead to grief, depression, extreme dependency, inability to judge trustworthiness in others, mistrust, anger and hostility. And as if all that isn’t enough, children’ bodies often respond to the sexual abuse, bringing on shame and guilt.
Lastly, if a child is been abused mentally and physically, the possibility of the child to be affected is very high. This will not only affect the child himself but his future will be affected due to previous abuse that he has gone through. It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure all child is protected and given the right environment for their development in young age.
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