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«�Though child abuse and neglect may go unnoticed and hidden for a long period of time, nevertheless behaviour changes due to child abuse and neglect in children and young people under the age of 17 impact socialemotional, physical and cognitive d Essay Example

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11Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Abuse

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August 30, 2011

Child Abuse

Child abuse is the maltreatment of underage individuals that normally deny them their freedoms and rights. It is punctuated by any individual although in most cases child abuse is carried out by persons the child trust most such as parents, relatives, friends and teachers or other immediate members of the society. Child abuse is divided into two broad categories namely; physical abuse and psychological abuse. Physical child abuse is the commonly experienced form of abuse and means the actual infliction of pain or bodily harm to the victim. For example, infliction of pain to a child through the use of an iron rod with the intention of injuring a child is termed as child abuse. However, the inflicting of pain to a child for disciplinary measures is not considered a form of child abuse. On the other hand; psychological child abuse means the deprivation of a child’s rights thus causing mental suffering. There are several studies which have been carried out concerning the many issues which surround child abuse. Theories have come out over the years on what constitute child abuse for underage children. This paper seeks to review literature of the already published issues of child abuse dwelling more specifically on the Child Sexual Abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)

Stoltenborgh, IJzendoorn, Euser and Kranenburg (2011), leads the school of thought that presumes the definition of sexual abuse as the forceful sexual engagement between two non-consenting individuals. It is thus characterized by an individual willingly touching the genitals of another unwilling person. Sexual abuse is a societal vice that cuts across all genders, ages, marital status and race among others. Child sexual abuse (CSA) connotes the act of soliciting sexual favors from an underage individual without their consent. Schaeffer, Leventhal and Asnes (2009) asserted that child Sexual Abuse (CSA) has been studied since 1970’s. According to Stoltenborgh, IJzendoorn, Euser and Kranenburg (2011), 217 publications and 331 independent samples with a total of 9,911,748 participants in the years between1980 to 2008, have reported that there was 127 in 1000 in self reported studies and 4 in 1000 in informant studies in the overall CSA prevalence. Studies also reported that self-reported CSA was more common among female (180/1000) than among male participants (76/1000). In addition, lowest rates for both girls (113/1000) and boys (41/1000) were found in Asia, and highest rates were found for girls in Australia (215/1000) and for boys in Africa (193/1000) (Stoltenborgh, IJzendoorn, Euser and Kranenburg, 2011). This gives an indication that CSA is a global problem of considerable extent. However, it also demonstrates that methodological issues influence the self-reported prevalence of CSA (Stoltenborgh, IJzendoorn, Euser and Kranenburg , 2011).

Disclosures of CSA

After sexual abuse has taken place, studies have led to more understanding on the issues on whether an abuse on the victim has taken place or not. This has not been easy as most of the time there have been delayed disclosures when a victim of abuse does not report the experience immediately it happens (Schaeffer, Leventhal and Asnes, 2009). Studies have shown that there exist several factors as to why children’s disclosures of sexual abuse are always hard.

There have been several factors in relation to children’s disclosures and testimony. Following a report on child abuse and neglect by Kim , Choib and
Shinb (2010), children’s disclosure and consequent testimony about sexual abuse is of great importance in both legal and psychological factors. In a review of past studies, Kim , Choib and
Shinb (2010) have stated several factors which are related to children’s testimony on sexual abuse into four categories. Child’s internal factors which are characterized by intelligence, age and psychopathology are significantly related to the accuracy of a child’s memory on a traumatic experience. Second, traumatic characteristics such as event severity, duration and close victim-perpetrator relationship were identified to affect children’s statements (Kim , Choib and
Shinb (2010). Third, a child’s statements on trauma are greatly influenced by parental support and secure attachment style. And finally fourth, other contextual factors such as interviewer’s bias, interview techniques, frequency of interviews and cultural taboos are reported to be associated with children’s statements. In particular, misleading questions and suggestions have been found to elicit false reports from children (Kim , Choib and
Shinb, 2010)

Characteristics of victims, gender, age and cultural background hinder the timing of disclosure. Male victims tend to delay sexual abuse disclosure. In some communities like Asians, cultural norms hinder immediate disclosures of CSA (Schaeffer, Leventhal and Asnes, 2009). Most children with less supportive parents have a greater occurrence of delaying their disclosure compared to children with parents who are more supportive. Studies have revealed that if the perpetrator is a relative, then the victim delays the disclosure. Though there have been all these theories on sexual abuse disclosure , according to studies, there exists no conclusive study on which types of sexual abuse lead to delays in disclosure (Schaeffer, Leventhal and Asnes, 2009).

Studies have also concluded that there have been several barriers reported by individuals who were abused as children (Hershkowitz, 2010). This has been accelerated by the fear of what would happen if they disclose the abuse. Most victims feel that they could not rely on their trusted individuals such as parents, adults and professionals (Schaeffer, Leventhal and Asnes, 2009). Consequently, victims feel ashamed of what happened in the past. Some victims feel that it’s a burden to disclose to their parents and chose to keep it as a secret. Studies have revealed that most victims are so distressed when discussing the event that they decided to keep it to themselves (Schaeffer, Leventhal and Asnes, 2009).

There exist several theories as to whether the credibility of reports on sexual Abuse of children with disability stands. Several studies indicate that challenges may be brought up during the forensic investigation when a child with a neuropsychiatric disorder has allegedly been sexually abused. Lindblad and Lainpelto, 2011). In their journal Sexual Abuse Allegations by Children with Neuropsychiatric Disorders asserts thatchild neuropsychiatry includes categories of autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mental retardation, and the spectrum of tic disorders. In Swedish court of appeal in mid 1990’s, the task of the court in investigating a sexual abuse case on a neuropsychiatric child was not easy as different psychiatrics presented conflicting affidavits. Sexually abused children with disability are most likely to be unrecognized in the medical health system (Lindblad, F, and Lainpelto, K. 2011). This is elaborated by the fact that more and more children delay disclosure or fail to disclose what happened when medically and forensically investigated. The interviewers also have a tendency to expose the victims focused rather than open-ended questions. This led to the risk of getting non-accurate information from the victim.

Effects of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)

CSA is a public health problem. Research has documented that CSA has both long term and short term effects. Report by Wondie, Y, Zemene, W, Reschke, K, and Schroder, H. (2011). shows that CSA leads to fear and anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), personality disorders, dissociation, re-victimization, substance abuse and alexithymia in children.According to the data that was collected from 318 female children in Ethiopia, respondents who survived rape and child prostitution showed more symptoms than those who were married early. Consequently, respondents whom less time had elapsed since their first experience of abuse demonstrated several symptoms. These symptoms ranged from higher level of stress disorder symptoms, negative reactions by others, self-blame, and guilt than those for whom more time had elapsed since such an experience. The respondents in an intact marital relationship were found to be less symptomatic than their never married and divorced counterparts (Wondie, Zemene, Reschke and Schroder, 2011).

According to Lindblad and Lainpelto (2011) sexual abuse in children affects their cognitive ability. For example, a sexually abused young girl child may develop negative attitudes towards the male population thus affecting her life since she may end up single. As earlier indicated, CSA is carried out by individuals close to the child. This makes disclosure of the acts is greatly curtailed by the proximity of relations. For example, a child feels intimidated by his/her parent to reveal to heinous acts on grounds that the perpetrator will face excommunication from the community. Lindblad and Lainpelto (2011) argue that most cases of child sexual abuses go unreported for fear of victimization of the culprits.

Cortoni, Hanson, and Coache (2011) acknowledge that most sexually abused children withdraw from the society and also disassociate themselves with members of the opposite sex. For example, a sexually abused girl child isolates herself from the company of male friends and may generalize her hatred towards all men to the extent of not marrying in her later stages in life. Moreover, the sexually affected child might also develop fear of physical contact such as a mere touch on an individual’s body.

Acquisition of venereal diseases

Report by Babchishin, Hanson, and Hermann (2011) argues that child sexual abuse contributes immensely to the proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis in the children. This means that a considerate number of children who are sexually abused become infected with the sexually transmitted diseases. Furthermore, children who get infected with the deadly diseases become stigmatized in the society and this can occasionally lead to the death of the child through untimely suicides.

Interventions for victims of CSA

Over the years, CSA has received attention and concern in the society as it continues to pose serious mental health risks to child victims and their families. Various reports have been documented that children victims of sexual abuse and their non-offending families are in dire need of health services (Hansen and Tavkar, 2011). This has been in the field of mental, physical and emotional health needs.

A report by Hansen and Tavkar, (2011) detailed that CSA victim’s families suffer challenges in the aftermath of CSA. They lose income; change of residence and in most occasions, less community support. In addition to that, they experience depression, guilt, trauma, grief and embarrassment. It’s due to all these difficulties that these victims and families require varied interventions in order to cope with all these predicaments.

Child centers

Child Centers has been embraced as sites for health services especially in mental services for CSA victims. These are community-based programs designed to offer child-friendly facilities. They approach child maltreatment as a multifaceted community problem (Hansen and Tavkar, 2011).

Crisis interventions

The disclosure of CSA often creates a period of crisis for the child and family. This makes it difficult for the CSA victims to access services. There is need for immediate address these concerns. Studies have revealed that in order to deal with concerns of trauma and other psychosocial difficulties, caregivers should be evaluated and offered appropriate treatment in order to provide support and guidance to the victim. Crisis intervention through counseling to child victims and caregivers and family sessions has helped a lot in CSA crisis (Hansen and Tavkar, 2011).

Based on a review of the literature, many CSA victims often suffer following disclosure. This is the reason why initial access for the provision of mental health services for families dealing with CSA is important. In addition, collaboration between mental health professionals and other mental health agencies should be strengthened in order to offer support for the CSA victims (Hansen and Tavkar, 2011).

Finally, more research is essential to identify the impact of CSA on caregivers, families which include siblings who are unfortunately overlooked. Through a better understanding of the impact of CSA on family members, more effective and accessible interventions may be developed.

In conclusion, while it’s true that various prevention and treatments are available for the CSA victims, the number of effective interventions is rather limited. No statistic rigorous research has been conducted to most effectively triage care. More research is needed to better understand what factors may result in more effective treatment for the CSA victims.

Collective participation from the relevant parties remains the fundamental principle in dealing with the vice that has deeply rooted itself in the community. This is through coming up with mitigating solutions such as the enactment of legislation to curtail CSA. For instance, the setting up of laws that seek permanent imprisonment of those found guilty so as to remain steadfast and provide examples to many people across the world. Critical awareness is paramount for the parents and the community in general. This includes organizing seminars to sensitize the community on the dangers of such activities. In this regard, the perpetrators and those left at the mercy of children to observe consciousness.

List of references

Babchishin, K., Hanson, K. and Hermann, C. (2011). The Characteristics of Online Sex

Offenders: A Meta-Analysis, Journal of Research and Treatment, 23:1, 92-123

Stoltenborgh,M., IJzendoorn, M., Euser, E. and Kranenburg B. (2011), Child maltreatment,

American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, Retrieved on http://cmx.sagepub.com/content/16/2/79.refs.html

Schaeffer, P, Leventhal, J, and Asnes, A. (2011). Children’s disclosures of sexual abuse:

Learning from direct inquiry, Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect, 35 (2011) 343-352

Kim , Choib and
Shinb (2010) Child Abuse & Neglect: Psychosocial factors

influencing competency of children’s statements on sexual trauma. Elsever

Babchishin, K, Hanson, K and Hermann, C. (2011). The Characteristics of Online Sex

Offenders: A Meta-Analysis, Journal of Research and Treatment, 23:1, 92-123

Hansen D. and Tavkar, P, (2011). Aggression and Violent Behavior, Journal of Child

Abuse and Neglect, 16 (2011) 188-199

Lindblad, F, and Lainpelto, K. (2011). Sexual Abuse Allegations by Children

with Neuropsychiatric Disorders, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 20:2, 182-195

Wondie, Y, Zemene, W, Reschke, K, and Schroder, H. (2011). Early Marriage, Rape,

Child Prostitution, and Related Factors Determining the Psychosocial Effects Severity of Child Sexual Abuse in Ethiopia, Journal of Sexual Abuse, 20:3, 305-321

Cortoni, F, Hanson, K, and Coache, M. (2011). The Recidivism Rates of Female

Offenders are Low: A Meta-Analysis, Journal of Research and Treatment, 22, 387-401

Hershkowitz, I. (2010). The effects of abuse history on sexually intrusive behavior by

children: An analysis of child justice records, Journal of Child abuse and Neglect 35(2011) 40-49