Child Abuse in Different Cultures

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6 years ago

What are your reflections from the panel discussion? What does child abuse in different countries have in common, and what are the differences related to cultural, economic and political context?


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26 Replies

My first reaction from the panel discussion was sadness.Thinking about how so many children and adults are going throughsuch horrible circumstances is painful for me to think about. Ifeel for these children. When I first started watching the lectureI was interested in hearing about all of the statistics and learnthat information, I was not expecting a video of children tellingtheir stories. When watching the video of the children tellingtheir stories of what happened to them, I had to stop myself fromcrying. Hearing about all of those stories from those childrenautomatically made me want to do something about it. I can'timagine how hard life must have been for these children. It is goodto know that people like Rebecca, Dona, and Sia are out there tohelp children in these situations. I thought it was so sad to hearthat 9000 children live in foster home. Knowing that this manychildren and many more are abused on a regular basis gives me aheavy heart. Neglect is one of the biggest issues and it is themost corrosive. Once effected by abuse people build up walls andhave a very hard time trying and learning to re-trust peopleagain.

Child abuse in different countries may have their differences insources of punishment or sources of the abuse, but many of thefactors that contribute to the reasons for abuse is what is common.The economy has much to do with the reasons of abuse. The number ofpeople living in poverty in the 20th century has inclined to over 1.2 billion people,which is about 20% of the population in the world (Nelson &Prillensky, 2005). Of these 1.2 billion people, half of them arechildren (Nelson & Prillensky, 2005). In disadvantaged familieswith a lack of resources puts a burden on the families that couldpotentially take a toll on the emotional state of parents. In turnthis can cause extreme issues of child abuse. Economics have a hugeimpact on families state of mind, and it plays a huge role in childabuse cases. Culture issues also do have a part in child abusecases. There are certain countries that believe it is okay to hit achild if they do something wrong, or they think it is okay tosexually abuse a child, but that is only part of their culture andit is considered to be a norm. In my opinion I don't believe thatis okay, but in some cultures it might be in their eyes. Politicsdo play a role in child abuse issues. There are laws against childabuse in the United States. The U.S. is a democratic country, andwe do have rules, laws, regulations, etc. In some countries, theyaren't democratic. There are other countries with other politicalviews on how things should be ruled, and who should make the rules,or if there should be any rules. This causes other conflictsbecause if there is no rule against child abuse, then who isstopping someone from doing it? Nobody is the answer. In this casechild abuse can definitely be taken out of control.  

Child abuse is an issue that seems to be getting out of control.A child can only stand up for themselves for so long and forcertain circumstances. This causes a problem. There are many causesfor child abuse issues and I don't believe that people who abusechildren should be let off the hook that easily anymore.

This panel was extremely informativeand passionate about their work.  I liked the video whichdepicted the teenagers, because when you think of child abuse youoften don’t think of the long term effects or how they dealeven after they are removed from a bad situation.  The one gentleman whoexpressed the memory of when his mother left him at foster care forthe final time was very moving.  The efforts that havebeen made to keep kids safe is amazing but that video shows thecontinued care kids need after they have had experiences like theones of the teens in the video. 

I was also very moved with some ofthe statistics the panel and you shared, specifically the one ofhow many children are sexually abused; 30% of girls and 15% ofboys.  Hearing this I had aphysical reaction.  As a parent this numberevokes a sense of anger that I have never know before.  I knew that sexual abusedoes happen but those numbers are monumentally disturbing.

Although I am shocked by what I haveheard today, I am thankful I have heard it.  I plan to go into thefield of school psychology and this discussion has motivated meeven more.  Knowing that by being inthe schools I am the first line of defense for abused childrengives me the hope and confidence that I can make a difference. 

Child abuse in any country andanywhere in the world has the same effect on the child.  The panel talked aboutthe trust issues the children will have when dealing with abuse.  If a child can not trustthe person who is supposed to love them unconditionally and protectthem from harm they will simply not learn the skill.  The isolation and selfworth issues will be a common factor in child abuse no matter whereit takes place. 

Child abuse will happen across alleconomic platforms.  Although a family who issuffering in poverty will have visible stressors such ashomelessness, lack of food and helathcare, a wealthy family canstill have stressors that lead to abuse.  Also drugs and alcoholoccur at any socioeconomic status, and these factors are veryclosely tied to abuse.

Politically it will always bedifficult to follow trough on mandates that regulate how a familysystem should operate.  Mainly this is difficultbecause it happens behind closed doors. I think that the laws arethere to protect children from abuse but we need to recognize thepeople who implement the laws are valuable.  There needs to be manymany more of them and they need to be paid accordingly to the workthey perform.  Their current pay doesnot reflect the amazing work they do or how much we as a societyvalue what they do.

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The tragedies that are bestowed upon children’s indisadvantaged families are something that no child should everexperience in anyway shape or form. The fact that there are homesthat are full with parents who are drug users id astonishing and Iwish it were not true but it does happen. The fact stand that thereare thousands of children being abused on  a daily basis, things such as victim blaming make ithard for the children to seek help or report the abuse. Childrenare told that it’s their fault for whatever reason that theyare being abused. So then when it comes from someone that they knowand trust they have no reason to question what they are seeing.That are they are being threatened that if they tell anyone theywill kill them or someone close to them.  It should also be the duty of the community to reportchild abuse, in today’s society people are scared of buttingin and breaking up families if they report them and do not want tobe guilty of that. But the reality is that if we do not report itthen in continues and nothing is done about it and it can lead tothe child being hurt psychologically, physically, and even possiblydeath. There is common thought that CPS takes children away fromtheir families, that is on the contrary if child abuse is reportedthen it is investigated and then from that it is decided what isgoing to happen. The cases in which where the child is taken fromthe home right away is when the children is in direct and immediatedanger from the surroundings. These government agencies that helpthis situation have been given a negative stigma for home breakers,but in reality they are looking out for the ones who cannot defendthemselves, and that is the children, there are also organizationssuch as Prevent Child Abuse: Arizona in where their goal is toprovide training and reach the public and teach them about thedangers of abuse and why it should always be reported, also raisepublic awareness about child abuse in their surrounding communitiesand all around. Different countries also have child abuse it is notjust ours; this is everything from psychological, physical, andsexual abuse. But the thing that differentiates the severity ofabuse between countries is cultural factors such as in America thatkind of abuse that is used for punishment is seen as wrong. Whereas in Mexico it is practiced regularly is a standard form ofpunishment especially in private schools.   Another factor that predicts abuse but does not limitit is socio-economic status. Lower status families tend to abusechildren more, reasons for this could be more pressure from lifestressors makes parents act on their emotions. Another cause forthis is discussed in the video lecture is that some parents are notfit to be parents. One theory about this is that one third ofparents can be parents, one third can be parents with easychildren, and one third cannot be parents at all based onpersonalities. AS for political context if the country in questiondoes not have any laws persecuting child abusers then they are freeto do whatever they want and nothing will change untilorganizations such as the UN try and establish and recognize therights of children and since children are helpless it’s up topeople like us that are trying to be more involved to raiseawareness of these injustices to help the small voice. It’sthrough this that change can come in the practice of reportingchild abuse and educating not just our local communities but at theglobal level so that children who are these positions no longerhave to fear their abusers.

The three women on the panel discussion represented threedifferent organizations that work with children who are abused. Iespecially appreciated what Rebecca Ruffner, the Executive Directorof Prevent Child Abuse Arizona, had to say. Rebecca was passionateand articulate about the opportunities that PCAA provides toneglected children. It is interesting to note that every family inthe United States is affected by the problem of child abuse. Wehave either experienced it ourselves or know of a family member,friend or neighbor who is experiencing it. Rebecca stated that theneglect of a child is the most corrosive thing that can happen to achild. The emotion of feeling alone and abandoned, and the realityof it, leads to almost certain distrust of others. When we realizethat trust is the first stage of human development, and when thattrust is gone, the child cannot develop normally and healthily.Rebecca's description of how neurologically the brain is a "cause"of child abuse, along with the intergenerational cycle, was new tome. It does make sense. I gathered from Donnas' reportingconcerning CPS, that she was a bit more negative about theirprogram. Donna used terminology such as "we're supposed to", "I'mnot sure", "hopefully", "that's a tough one", and "it's difficult",in describing her work at CPS. Sia, the school counselor, ended ona good note. She supported the fact that "there is hope". That'swhat each child needs - hope!

 Child abuse in different countries share one thing in common.When a child is abandoned (neglected), no matter what countryhe/she is from, that child is suffering abuse. One of the basicneeds a human being has is the feeling of being wanted. When achild is abandoned as an orphan due to HIV/AIDS infected parentswho die young in Russia, to a child who is abandoned on the streetsof Phoenix, the result of drug addicted parents, the result is thesame - a child has suffered abuse.

 Culturally, economically and politically the differences aremany comparing child abuse in many countries. In the United Stateswe have child labor laws. In many third world countries there areno laws to protect children from working hard, long hours for verylittle pay or for no pay at all. In Central America the sex tradeis so prevalent among young girls and boys that organizations fromthe United States have stepped in to prevent this sexual childabuse from happening. Unfortunately, the political state of CentralAmerica is so corrupt that this sexual abuse continues to pervadethe country. I witnessed first hand the "poverty" in Africa. Manyof the children sleep on dirt floors and in very small homes. InAmerica, sleeping on a dirt floor would most likely be considered asign of child abuse. In Africa it is not.

I must say that much of the information that I listened to wasvery interesting, especially some of the facts that Dona Tyree hadmentioned in her discussion. One idea in particular that shementioned that I thought was ingenious was the brain damage orneurochemical phenomena of a neglected child at age 3. Shementioned that you could tell a child has been neglected if youscan his/her brain at age 3 and the doctor sees signs of anAlzheimer’s brain. Specifically, these are the dark spots onthe brain where the child has evidence of emotional and mentaltrauma. As a prevention specialist, she stated some important factsthat had connection to emotional abuse and educational neglect. Atfirst, I didn’t understand what educational neglect had to dowith child abuse, but after she explained it I was very amazed onhow it all came together. She stated that educational neglect meantthat a parent refuses to send their child to school and maybe hastheir child homeschooled instead. Moreover, she stated that schoolis a prevention system where if the child was being abused theteachers and students would notice signs of bruises and marks.However, a parent will neglect a child’s schooling so thechild can’t be seen for this very reason.  Furthermore, thelaw specifies that a parent doesn’t have to send their childto school until age 8. In connection, with the panel discussion, Ithink this age should be changed to age 3 considering thedevelopmental risks I child may accrue at a younger age will effecthis/her adulthood as they get older. My main objection to theeducational neglect is that if we catch the abuse earlier thebetter chance we have on preventing abuse if schooling is mandatoryat an earlier age. The videos and the speeches of these childrenthat were abused had me in shock because I noticed that theycouldn’t even make eye contact with the camera any time theyhad to answer a question. That was very hurtful to see consideringthat these were signs of long-lived depression, emotional, andsexual abuse. I think the panel was very diversified and had longyears of experience to where I was able to understand differentopinions and facts of child abuse. One topic I thought that theyall spoke about well for my understanding was the more common typesof abuse. For example, they all spoke and stated that the mostcommon types of abuse are due to sexual abuse and drug abuse. Ithought this was the case for a while, but I wasn’t sureuntil they confirmed it. More intriguing was when Donna Tyreementioned that the worst thing a child could go through isloneliness. I want to say that she is right and I totally agreewith her. A child that has nobody to help and lean on can be theworst feeling in the world as well as the most damaging feeling.
The problem of child abuse has similar viewpoints indifferent countries.  The United Nations signed a declaration thata child should grow up in an atmosphere of happiness, love, andunderstanding. In this declaration, they also state that childhoodis entitled to special care and assistance and those childrenshould be afforded necessary protection so that responsibility canbe fully assumed in the community.  Moreover, the United Nationsbelieves children need legal protection by reason of physical andmental immaturity. The difference in mindset came when the UnitedStates and Somalia didn’t sign this declaration. In thiscase, we must assume that they didn’t believe or feel thesame way about childcare or abuse. However, in the United States,specifically in Arizona, there are some similarities in commonbeliefs of child abuse.  Arizona, like many other states, has ChildProtective Services (CPS) that is given the authority to protectand aid children who are at risk in their homes.   The lawspecifies that it can remove a child from their parents if they aresuffering neglect or abuse. They have family support services thatprovide food, housing, clothing, and medical care for troubledchildren. Moreover, they provide substance abuse testing andtreatment, counseling, and childcare. 
This program is similar to Sure Start that was started in1999 in the United Kingdom. A program that helped children up toage 4 better their physical and psychological well-being, is a hugeprevention program in low socioeconomic neighborhoods. The SureStart program does home visits, helps with parent support, helps tobetter opportunities for quality play, childcare, primary healthcare, and children with special needs. 
In spite of some similarities, there are differences of childabuse and childcare in different countries. Ray Peters found as hereviewed policies for the well-being of children and families thatcountries such as France, the Netherlands, the UK, and Sweden havefamily policies that decrease economic inequalities through tax andtransfers. On the contrary, countries such as Canada, Australia,and Germany have stopped this kind of support for family andchildren services while their benefits are much lower than many oftheir competitors.  Sweden and France provide more maintenancechild support programs as they advance payments to custodialparents while protecting single parent families from poverty issuesin these circumstances.  These opportunities are not as availablein countries such as the Netherlands, UK, and the U.S. It wassurprising to also find that countries such as Canada and the U.S.still do not have a system of policies set in place to supportearly childhood care and education advances for many children.
Over all, I’ve begun to understand how other culturesdeal with child and family care through this research. With theseideas, the U.S. must find ways of bettering child development andpreventing child abuse.  In some way, we should mirror thecountries that are doing better than us in order to reduce childabuse.

 This week, I can't say that I have really learned anything new because unfortunately, I see iteveryday.  I work for the court system for the Superior Court inJuvenile Court.  There our division hears Dependency, Severance,and Adoption matters.  Dependency matters are the hearings in whichChild Protective Services (CPS) is involved and the parents' rightsto the children are being put on trial.  Severance matters arewhere the patents' rights to their children are legallyterminated.  What did open my eyes; however, are the numbers thatrelate to Child Abuse in Arizona.  I am absolutely disgusted firstof all by the national numbers, but even more so by that fact thatArizona rates dead last on the list.   


What I have seen, personally, is extremely disturbing.  We havehad to see pictures of children whom were beaten, dirty.  We havealso, at times, seen these children in person (in court) tellingtheir side of the story.  What I find is very sad is that eventhough these children have been abused (physically, sexually,emotionally, or neglect) many times would rather go back to thissituation instead of live in a foster home or shelter.  Most of thetime that this happens, it happens because they are separated fromtheir siblings.   Many times they protect their abuser to get backto some sort of what they feel is normalcy. 


I feel very strongly that child abuse is child abuse no matterwhat country you live in.  Children are psychologically affected nomatter where they live.  With child abuse comes fear, hurt,confusion, and unfortunately, many times a cycle.  Many childabusers were once before abused themselves.  Fortunately, there ishope.  My family is an example of this.  My father was abused as achild.  He was abused physically, emotionally, and he was neglectedby his step-father.  He was deeply affected by it, but thanks tohis older sisters, he knew that it was wrong.  He eventually stoodup to his step-father and had extensive therapy as a teenager.  Hemade a promise to himself that he would never be like hisstep-father.  He has been nothing but the best to me and mysiblings.  He is an amazing father and I never even knew about histroubled childhood until I was an adult. 


I think that culturally, economically, and politically theeffects that abuse has on children are still similar, but the viewon child abuse differs.  First of all, culturally and politically,in Arizona for example, corporal punishment (spanking) is stillvery legal and prominent.  The basic rule is you can spank yourchild as long as you don't leave a mark.  The question we have toask ourselves is, just because it doesn't leave a physical mark,doesn't mean that it won't leave an emotional mark.  Economically,I think that there is also a very different view on child abuse. For example, many upper social economic standing areas may thinkthat they are great parents because they are able to provide theirchildren with everything they need and want.  What they don'trealize is that because they typically work a lot, they are veryabsent.  With absence comes neglect. 


Unfortunately, child abuse is a huge problem in our world.  Andthough organizations like CPS in are trying to stop it, there isonly so much funding to keep them running.  As the lady in thediscussion mentioned, there are only 4-6 after hour workers tofield all calls.  In order to field all of those calls, they haveto prioritize the calls.  The CPS workers recently have beenrequired to take a furlough day due to budget cuts.  This isappalling and it obviously needs to change.  The problem is whereto start. 


In the video lecture, I was surprised by many of the statisticsgiven about child abuse in America and in Arizona. Child abuse ismuch more prevalent than I had imagined, especially when youconsider that the numbers of reported cases are smaller than theactual instances of child abuse, due to lack of reporting. Thesituation that CPS workers are put in is a difficult one, becausethey must choose between two bad situations for the child todetermine what will be the least detrimental: remaining in the homewhere abuse may occur again or having to leave his family and theonly home he has ever known. CPS does have a bad reputation,especially with the recent news coverage for the Peoria family thatlost their children temporarily because of suspected abuse due tobath pictures of the children naked that were developed at Walmart,where the employee reported the pictures to CPS. The case wasinvestigated and thrown out, but the family was separated for amonth during this investigation. Cases like this give CPS a badreputation for splitting up families and being detrimental tofamilies in general. However, in many cases, CPS saves families.The example given of the homeless mother who was addicted to methuntil her kids were taken by CPS, then received treatment and founda job is a case where CPS brought a family together and helped toimprove the situation for everyone.

Also, with the comments about how many of the abuse cases arerelated to meth addiction and how this drug affects parents, muchof the child abuse could be decreased with drug prevention and drugtreatment programs for parents and for the general populationbefore they become parents. I think child abuse goes unreported inmany cases for the same reasons that spousal abuse goes unreported.Many people see it as a private, family matter and do not want toget involved.

Child abuse happens in every country and there are similarstressers for parents leading to child abuse. However, cultural andsocial contexts affect what is seen as child abuse and what is seenas normal discipline. Additionally, some cultures are moreaccepting of corporal punishment for children, so child abuse willbe viewed differently. The levels of family privacy and governmentinvolvement in family matters also affects the ability ofgovernment officials to intervene in cases of child abuse. In homeswhere children are home schooled, for instance, it is much harderfor child abuse cases to be brought to attention, because the childis not in contact with people outside the family.

I found it surprising that the USA and Somalia were the only 2countries who did not sign the UN Child Rights Convention. Thisgives certain rights and protection to children internationally,which will hopefully help to reduce the cases of child abuseworldwide. However, because child abuse is a family issue,effective prevention should be put in place to stop child abusefrom occurring in the first place, such as support for families andeducation about child rearing, including what constitutes childabuse and should not be done. Many children who were victims do notrealize that the way they were raised was abnormal and raise theirchildren the same way. By providing education about parenting andabuse prevention in public schools to teenagers before they evenconsider becoming parents, we can help stop this cycle fromperpetuating and help children to recognize when they have beenvictimized and to get the help they need to deal with the emotionaltrauma they have experienced.

I believe that this panel discussion was very informative.  Thevideo interviewing the children that had been abused or in abusedsituations was very upsetting.  From that video I saw that drug andalcohol usage was a common factor in abuse cases.  One interviewthat was on that video was of a young boy whose mother would drophim off at a foster home every weekend I thought was interesting. It made me wonder what she was doing on the weekends and why shewould pick him up the next week.  I also thought that it was themost responsible thing she could have done.  Obviously she was notcapable of taking care of the child so she eventually left him in abetter place.  The boy also thought that his mother was doing thisto make sure that he liked the foster home before she completelyleft him in their care.  I also thought that the fact that mostchildren taken from their homes and put into foster homes usuallyrun away very interesting.  The reason for this was stated thatthey do not understand the concept of family and not having thefreedom and privacy they once had in their home.  I found it veryinteresting that in the video, Rebecca Ruffner stated that shethought counseling was not beneficial to the child.  I would thinkthat it would be so that the child can get his or her emotions outon the table instead of having them bottled up.  The issue of nothaving programs on parental skills and child abuse available beforepeople become parents was also interesting.  I do believe thatthere should be such thing in order to prevent cases of childabuse.  The way that this could be enforced would be the same waypeople in some cases have to take marriage classes before theymarry; I think that this would be beneficial. 

Some common factors of child abuse through out the world are thereasons why it happens.  Child abuse stems from financial stress,drug usage, high alcohol consumption, family stress, and theparents inabilities.  The case is not the same for every family butthere are many families out there that are living below the povertyline and many with other issues.  Like I said above most familiesin which child abuse is a factor the parents are using drugs andalcohol and this is taking a toll on their finances and theirabilities to be good parents.  Drug and high alcohol usage alsotake away time that they should be using to help their childdevelop into healthy and intelligent children.  The use of thesesubstances usually leaves children alone and scared. 

In some cultures children are viewed as ancestors that have comeback to them in a different body.  Abuse of a child would beconsidered abuse on their ancestors so child abuse is not common,this is in some parts of Asia.  There are many reasons why childrenare not abused but just because you have a certain belief that isheld by your community and culture does not mean that it will nothappen.  Abuse happens all over the world and it is a shame.  Childabuse happens no matter the economic status of the family, theculture, or the political views of the family. 

"What are your reflections from the panel discussion?

            After watch thepanel members Rebecca Ruffner, Donna Tyree, and Sia Chamberlinspeak about child abuse I learned why it is so important that weprotect our children. After watching parts of the film ViolentTimes I understood that children who are victimized early in lifetend to act out violently in their teens. The panel was informativeand helped me recognize some of the causes of child abuse as well.After listening to the lecture I feel that a child’simmaturity needs special safeguards, care, and legal protectionmore than even partners in abusive relationships. When comparingchild abuse and domestic violence, I find both offenses vile but Ifeel children have even less of a chance of defending themselvescompared to a spouse.

I felt that some of the stories in Violent Times wereheartbreaking; the first video Daddy Doll featured a teenager namedToya who was sexually abused by her father. She only came out withthe truth after acting out in school. Children need protectionagainst such crimes, and our community leaders and teachers shouldbe on the lookout for such actions. Kids don’t act outbecause they are bad kids; it is usually in direct effect of howthey have been raised. I think after watching the lecture andlistening to the panel, my perspective has changed. I am more awareof some of the characteristics of abused children. If everyone hadsuch knowledge the abuse would be decreased significantly, and Ifeel providing these unfortunate children with safe havens to turnto must be put in place. Children posses neither political noreconomic power, so where are their voices going to be heard; in theclass room. Maybe all children should be asked questions pertainingto abuse on a regular base. Individualism gets abused childrennowhere. They need to feel like they are a part of something andthat there are people who care about their well being. This isespecially prevalent if they get none of these reassurances athome. Teachers, counselors, and student officials can all have agreater role in children’s lives but at times this seemsimprobable in our culture. Babying our children only makes themtake longer to grow up, and America is all about self sufficiency.Maybe it is ok to open up and talk to someone, maybe it is ok toreceive help when it is needed, because one thing this panel madeclear is that abused children are not alone.

 What does child abuse indifferent countries have in common? What is the difference relatedto cultural, economic and political context?


Abused children all over the world are more common than they aredifferent. Fundamentally abused children feel alone, and lack thesocial networking to help them through and stop the abuse. There isdespair and hopelessness in all these children. Where things tendto get different is when we are looking at child abuse in acultural context. As I mentioned earlier, isolation fuels theabuse. Depending on where you live, physical or geographicalisolation may -be influential; it occurs in both non-developing anddeveloping countries. At least the United States has ChildProtective Services for abused children but what about othercountries around the world, how are they monitored? A common themein child abuse is stress, and dealing with stress throughaggression is much easier than dealing with problems through otheremotions. Culturally speaking, if a country is more supportive ofphysical punishment of children; such as beatings and spankings,there may be a higher susceptibility to child abuse. Also dependingon culture, there may be a higher rate of child abuse inindividualistic cultures compared to collective cultures. This issupported because children in collective cultures have more thanjust parents as caregivers. Economically speaking, child abuseoccurs at all levels of society, but living in poverty and withouta strength based economic perspective could cause higher levels ofchild abuse.       

Taking traditions and family values into account has its cost; itis unacceptable to consider child abuse normal just because it ispart of the culture. This concept is where counties politicallydiffer on their perspectives of child abuse. Children are notprotected as much in other countries as they are in American.Difficult living conditions should lead to special considerationsfor children but in many places the right of a child is left out.This must change because no matter where child abuse is occurringchildren should grow up in a family environment, and in theatmosphere of love, happiness, and understanding, so that is haspositive effects on their development and personality.




I think that the assumption that the communityshould take care of our children. We should educate our children sothat they can live the best life that they can. I think that a lotof people just think that children shouldn’t have a voice oran opinion and they go by the way-side but that should be changed.Children should know how to function as people. Theyshouldn’t have to make adult choices but they should beheard.

I believe that you are a product of your environment and I thinkthat there should be more organizations that should keep an eye onchildren that live in unsafe neighborhoods. I feel like thoseorganizations should also keep an eye on people that have beenaccused of child abuse. I agree with the fact that neglect is stillchild abuse and I think that it kind of goes unnoticed because thechild is not being physically abused. The children that areneglected have major issues growing up trusting anyone. If you feellike you cannot even trust your parents then who can you trust?

By Charlotte Slocum

    Child abuse is defined by the federal law as "any recentact or failure to act on the part of parent or caretaker whichresults in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuseor exploitation or an act or failure to act, which presents animminent risk of serious harm." Child abuse can be so manydifferent things, which is why there are such large variations inthe law. The definition is broad and can encompass things that seemso "small" such as not providing your child with medicine orsomething that immediately comes to mind, like beating yourchild.

    Different countries have different perceptions of what isokay. Spanking is something that is widely accepted as a form ofdiscipline. My personal beliefs are that it is an abusive behavior.You are still hitting your child, no matter what they did to"deserve" it or what they will "learn" from it. I think that thisis the same mentality that physical abusers have. "You deservethis," someone might say. This is the wrong attitude towards anysituation because the person always becomes defensive.

    In China child abuse is a "hidden crisis." According tothe website,, "Hong Kong's high tolerance of childabuse may lead to a social crisis. The warning came from PricillaLui Tsang Sun-kai, director of Against Child Abuse, who said thatprotection for children has never been a priority in the country.Instead, she said, the government concentrates its resources onfostering economic development." She mentions that she "feelspeople in Hong Kong are tolerant of child abuse. It is as if thewhole of society is suffering from child abuse accommodationsyndrome." I think that it's so interesting to hear the perspectiveof someone who is present in the country and experiencing thedownfalls of the system. She seems to have strong feelings aboutthe neglect of this issue. I think that if you don't address itupfront it gets pushed on the backburner of the countries worries.Being "more" interesting in the economic development is appalling.This article also states, "the syndrome refers to victimsresponding to abuse my accepting the situation since they see noway of escape. The victims usually keep the abuse a secret or delayreporting the abuse to avoid destruction of their families. Luisaid, "our society has shown accommodation to the child abuseproblem and people have turned a blind eye to it. Only the severeabuse cases in which victims are close to death will be exposed andcause the concern of society.

    Politically some governments take it more seriously thanothers and I think that ours acknowledges it pretty upfront. Thereare constantly advertisements on television and programs beingdeveloped. Prevent Child Abuse Arizona is an organization in ourstate that focus' on the protection of children. Their websitelists a few specific projects that they have going on.  Theseprograms are briefly described below.

Best For Babies "advocates the best care our community canprovide for infants and toddlers in the foster care system as aresult of abuse and neglect. The Best for Babies Think Tank isworking to assure that our infants and toddlers in foster care inYavapai County are safe, secure, healthy and developmentally ontrack. Unfortunately, babies are the fastest growing group ofchildren entering foster care as a result of abuse and/or neglect."I know about this program because I attended the seminar a fewweeks ago that went into detail about this organization. I wasfascinated to hear all of the information that they had to offerand the goals that they had.

Court Teams for Infants and Toddlers "is a training andtechnical assistance project with currently eight of fifteenArizona county juvenile courts. The Arizona Department of EconomicSecurity and the Administrative Office of the Courts fund it. Inthe participating counties, the courts assure that infants andtoddlers in foster care are receiving timely, essential health anddevelopmental services." This project was also represented at theseminar that I went to. I think that it's important to stand up forthe rights of this population because they can't stand up forthemselves.

I think that a lot of countries have similar organizationswith similar goals, it just the priority in which countries dealwith it. Child abuse is a problem everywhere and it is on the risein a lot of countries such as our own. According to an article, the president and league executive of Child Welfare Leagueof America said, "It's truly an epidemic and we've seen thetremendous increase over the last 20 years." The article alsomentions that many states are "unable to keep pact with the numberof cases, despite increases in funding from the federalproject."

Funding from country to country is also a big difference.Some countries just cannot afford to federally produce such massamount of prevention projects. We should realize that our countryis fortunate.

Many things came to my attention in the panel discussion. A lot ofthings were reinforcements of things that I already knew but somewere new bits of knowledge that I will take with me. One of themore important things that it reinforces for me is the fact thatthat a child living a life without violence is a human rightsissue. It also reinforced to me that the immediate consequences aresevere and long term consequences are enduring.  What I knew before wasthat child abuse was too common. However, I did not realize exactlyhow common it is. The fact that most of us know someone who hasbeen involved in an abuse system is shocking and saddening. Animportant point that they made was that everyone is impacted bychild abuse, either directly or indirectly. Another thing that Iwas aware of was the prevalence of neglect and how powerful it is.But it was interesting to hear a more concrete number- 65 percentto be exact. What I learned from the panel regarding neglect is whyit is considered the most corrosive form of abuse. I learned thatit is because it runs counter to the child’s goal ofestablishing trust. Without trust, the entire course of developmentis changed for the worse. Also, the numbers alone are mindboggling- much less the depth of the problem within eachindividual. Regarding treatment and interventions, I learned thatcounseling may not be as effective as once thought because of highburnout rate among counselors. The children form a bond with thecounselors and when the counselors leave it is just another lossfor the kids. However, I did come to realize how important schoolcounselors are because a good amount of trust is established there.They serve as the first line of defense in this problem becausethey see the kids day in and day out and they are equipped tohandle situations like this. What was especially interesting to mewas the physiological impact. We can all see the emotional impactsof abuse but I did not even think of it in terms of physiologicaldamage.  Perhaps one of the biggestthings that I took away from the panel is that a multifacetedapproach is in order. It was mentioned by one of the women on thepanel that if interventions with drugs and alcohol were successful,she might be out of a job. This is just one way to approach thesituation to lower the amount of child abuse.  Another huge thing that Itook away was that prevention is hugely important. Preventiontechniques like visiting at risk parents as soon as possible areclearly effective and more prevention needs to follow suit.

            Child abuse isworldwide offense. I believe that all human beings are more alikethan they are different and I think for this reason, child abuseaffects people in much the same way worldwide. Unfortunately, Ithink that most of the common threads in child abuse cases all overthe world are negative. The biggest common thread seems to be thedepth of problems caused to the child. It is clear to anyone whohas ever worked with a victim of child abuse that the pain is deepand enduring and I think this can be said for children all over theworld. Another common theme worldwide is the lack of informationand prevention available. So many cases of child abuse can beprevented with the proper resources. The need for more resources toaddress problems is a common issue for many social ills, includingchild abuse. However, I do think that there is one positive to befound worldwide. It is clear from the Convention on the Rights ofthe Child that most countries, at least on some level, recognizethat we have a huge problem on our hands here.

While child abuse is consistent worldwide in many ways, there are alot of differences as well. I think that a very important indicatorfor child abuse differences is differences in economic status. Thestressors that come with lower economic status are very closelytied to child abuse. Other stressors related to cultural andpolitical factors should be considered as well. When less favorableconditions are present regarding each of these factors, child abuseis more likely to follow. This is simply because people can onlytake a certain amount of stressors on without something happening.The threshold for stressors and risk factors are different for eachperson depending on their resilience and resources available tothem. But it is important to remember that everyone has a breakingpoint, some are just lower than others. It is with this in mindthat we should go forth in preventing child abuse. 

OfflinePhoto of Katrena Ham Katrena Ham said 6 years ago

             The panel discussion on Child Abuse was verydifficult to watch at times, but overall provided extensiveinformation on the prevalence and preventative efforts towards thecause. It is disheartening the sheer number of children subject tophysical, emotional, sexual, educational abuse and neglect. Themost difficult part of the video for me was watching the accountstold by abused children themselves. Seeing first person testimonygave insight to the lives and careers of the members of the panel,and provided reasons to respect and admire them all the more. As asocial worker, school counselor, or director for an agencydedicated to the intervention and prevention of child abuse, eachmember of the panel holds a much-needed role in our society.Children need advocates, and hearing that each of their professionsare in much need of extra help, that CPS is overworked,understaffed, and underpaid makes the efforts to stopping childabuse altogether seem simply unattainable. Overall, despite theheaviness of the subject and the truly depressing facts and figurespresented about child abuse, it is ladies like these 3 that keephope alive for children everywhere.

            Although cultural definitions may varyfrom country to country in regards to defining certain actions,however I feel that child abuse has universal definitions despitethose cultural differences. In addition to differences in how childabuse can be defined, different countries vary in legality of childabuse. While in every country, it may be seen as morally wrong orat least questionable to leave an infant unattended, or strike achild to the point of bruises and broken bones, some places may notrecognize these actions as a legal dispute, but rather only afamilial or personal dispute. It was not until recently here in theUnited States that legislation was created and passed in relationto domestic violence, which also encompasses child abuse.Currently, it is still difficult to agree upon what actions need betaken from one situation to the next. Like Donna Tyree talkedabout, one person may define an environment unfit for childrenwhile others may disagree. These disagreements shed light on thedifficulties law enforcement and other agencies needed in childabuse intervention face every day.

            As stated in the text, there is onecontext that universally raises the risk for family violenceincluding child abuse, and that is low socioeconomic status. Inplaces, both within our borders and around the world, thatexperience oppression in social, political, and economic ways havehigher rates of child abuse. This phenomenon is attributed to thelack of social equality and power felt within families, and in turnthese frustrations are expressed through maladaptive behaviors. Itis important for future efforts to reduce and eliminate theseoppressive conditions, or at least provide support for familiesthat are experiencing societal issues. One example of a universalattempt to address child abuse and other child related issuesaround the world was the Convention on the Rights of the Child heldby the United Nations. It is recognized and stated within thedocument provided that “the child, by reason of his physicaland mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, includingappropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”(Conventions, 1989). A world organization like the United Nationsrecognizing the importance to protect children, “especiallythose in developing countries”, is a necessary step towardsameliorating an out of control issue.

            This week’s material on child abusetruly inspired me personally to do what I can in this area. Childabuse is never acceptable, and with the limited resources beingused to combat this issue, I feel we all need to step up andcontribute to the cause. With limited funding and staffing forplaces like CPT and Prevent Child Abuse Arizona, people like thosewonderful women on the panel need all the help in their efforts aspossible. I plan to dedicate at least a year’s worth ofvolunteer work to the cause, and I would strongly encourageeveryone else to do the same, given the need for volunteers andcontributors. Prevent Child Abuse Arizona’s website has a lotof information on how to contribute with donations or volunteerwork and I plan to fully take advantage of such a wonderfulresource. I truly hope that efforts like these are being made allover the country and the world, especially for those places withdisadvantaged families that are at higher risk for child abuse. Itis better and more affective to provide resources and prevent childabuse from happening in the first place than trying to put backtogether the broken pieces of the lives of those who fall victim tosuch a heinous act. 

What are your reflections from the panel discussion?

This discussion panel was very informative on the subject of childabuse. Sia Chamberlin, Rebecca Ruffner, and Donna Tyree illustratethe importance on protecting children against abusiverelationships. They provided helpful information that demonstratedhow children lived with this type of abuse. It was astonishing tofind out that 3 million children are abused in the U.S., and thatthe majority is from parents. In the video, Violent Times, it wasdisturbing to find out how these children (teens) have been exposedto drugs, violence, and hardships in their young lives. Sean, theboy in the video, mentioned that he lived in a trailer with hisfamily. His mother and father were heavy into drugs and his motherdrank on a regular basis. That is not an environment for a child tobe living in and resulted in his parents’ divorce when he wastwo years old. Once his father left the picture, his mother’sand her boyfriend would fight constantly and were abusive with eachother. They would hit and scream each other until late at nightwhile the children would have to hear this behavior.Children’s behaviors like aggression and acting out happenwhen a child is exposed in conjunction in how they were brought up.If all they know is abuse and neglect how are they suppose to reactto situations as they get older? It is a difficult time forchildren who are subjected to abuse in the home; they really do nothave a foundation to learn from where there only form of refugeaway from home is at school. Unless they have the courage andself-esteem which most abused children do not have, they will notseek help from a teacher or professional because they do not knowwhat will happen or are scared. The panel indicated that it isimportant to remember that asking for help is OK and this needed tobe emphasized in the schools. If children are aware that if thereis a problem in the home they should feel comfortable getting help,because children’s safety is a top priority.

What does child abuse in different countries have in common, andwhat are the differences related to cultural, economic andpolitical context?

Child abuse in different countries has in common the mentalitystates and emotional trauma that these children face. It does notmatter where you live; living in an abusive home is traumatic,depressing, and difficult to face especially as a child.  The book states thatdisadvantaged families have strengths, are impacted by forces atmultiple ecological levels, reflect diversity and have rights topower, inclusion and self-determination.(p.464) With this knowledgea family who subjected to abuse, no matter what continent they liveon should fight to survive abuse. Other countries feel like it isappropriate behavior to use abuse as a source of power, but thesepeople need to be educated so they understand the consequences ofabuse and what it does to these children.

Cultural contexts of child abuse depend where the child was raisedand how they respond to religion and different beliefs. Manycountries feel that violence is a way to control spouses, children,and other family members. Although this is not the case in the U.S.many countries struggles with this issue every day.

Economic contexts of child abuse are not necessarily related to howmuch a family earns, abuse can occur whether you are wealthy or arebelow the poverty line. Sexual and physical abuse is found in thesehomes and it we know from the panel and our text that it is notabout money. Most of these abusers want the power and want controlover others around them and this is how they feel like they stay inthat control and power by using abuse as their motive.

In regards to political contexts, in the U.S. children areprotected with social services and other funded programs that givesrights to children not to be in safe environments. In othercountries things are not the same. Religion and other beliefscoincide with the law and it is difficult to break away from whatis in the best interest of the child. We are lucky we live in aplace where we have the organizations and programs that protectchildren from abuse.

"What are your reflections from the panel discussion? What doeschild abuse in different countries have in common, and what are thedifferences related to cultural, economic and politicalcontext?"

The panel discussion on child abuse was very real. The childabuse problem that exists here in America and throughout the globeis a very serious issue and it has an impact overall community. Thepanel members that we heard from gave some very informative socialbased knowledge, which made child abuse very clear to me. I hadonly had a small understanding of abuse. I now have a broaderinformation base of what child abuse is exactly. As for the CPSmisconceptions, prior to this panel I thought just as many probablyhave that CPS only created more of  a mess in peoples life's thenthere started out to be. I thought that they just ripped familiesapart taking their children and giving them to foster homes thatonly were in it for an easy buck. I was wrong and the Preventionspecialist from CPS, Donna Tyree, clarified this, now that I knowhow the process works, and why they actually do take children outof the situations, I have a greater respect for their position. Thefacts that the panel brought about the number of families that areinvolved with drugs and alcohol which lead to child abuse orneglect was unreal, I was in disbelieve that the number could be sohigh. I found it quite intriguing that the socio -economicimmobility leads to a big cause of child abuse. The thing that Ithink is common with child abuse amongst countries is that it is anissue that can only be reactive in resolution, and there is no realprimary preventive ways that can be promoted, except for thepractice of parenting in a proper and healthy manner, but with only1/3 of the parents actually being able to do this, and withdeveloping nations putting children to work early, the perceptionschange, and 2/3 of the parents have no clue.

 The way that the differences in parenting influence the economyis clear. In the developing countries, they use the children as ameans to contribute to the family, and they keep having childrenuntil they are capable of economic participation. Here in America,for instance, we have the laws to prevent this type of child labor,and we have children because we want to be parents, and some mayuse them here for welfare gain, but for the most part, we want toas a passing of the genetic survival of our community. Children inAmerica are protected, and in other parts of the world, they arenot as protected.

 The types of abuse are another direct reflection of whyPrograms like prevent Child abuse Arizona are necessary. If thepeople are aware of the problem of child abuse and what forms theissue takes, then we can attempt to prevent it. Another reason forthe social promotion is it gives the people the knowledge of childabuse's existence, and how to be a non -participant in those typesof choices, and those behaviors that lead to the problems thatcause child abuse. When there is awareness in the community, thepeople can get the clues from the faces and displays of those whoare abused, and we can then be reactive participants in theresolution. No one should hurt the child because there is no otherway of expressing his or her own problems.


This week's panel discussion brought up a number of interestingand concerning points about child abuse.  One slide I wasespecially surprised about was Arizona's ratings for child-relatedissues; Arizona was consistently at the bottom of these topics andwas fiftieth for its dropout rate.  Some of this may be due to thepoor economic status of the large immigrant (both legal andillegal) population of Arizona.  Still, it is disconcerting to knowthat the state with the fifth largest city in America and one ofthe fast growing capitals is home to some of the worst conditionsin America for children.  Additionally, the program which Ms.Ruffner (of Prevent Child Abuse Arizona) was discussing at the endof the panel was dependent upon the continuation of support fromthe Arizona government.  She indicated that this support only cameinto effect under Governor Napolitano; since Napolitano'sresignation as Governor and Jan Brewer's taking over, the Arizonagovernment has switched into more politically conservative hands,which has historically been less likely to support social programslike the one Ms. Ruffner described.  I am fearful to learn of thestatus of that program under the new administration, and even morefearful for the continuing deterioration of the status ofchildren's wellness in Arizona.

 A common atmosphere that I sensed coming from all of thepanelists was an overwhelming sense of pessimism and defeatism. Ms. Ruffner decried the fact that as a society, we have decided tofix bad things that have happened rather than prevent bad thingsfrom happening.  Even Ms. Tyree from CPS was frank in her opinionthat CPS's intervention is unhelpful in the majority of cases.  Ifthis is the opinion coming from a professional who has devoted herlife to such interventions, the state of affairs is obviouslyrather dire.  There was a pervading sense throughout the panel thatno matter how much work was done, it was never enough to stop theincessant tide of child abuse - a condition that is quitedepressing. 

Child abuse across countries shares a couple of basicprinciples, even though its manifestations may be different.  Forone, it is always predicated on an imbalance of power in which thechild is completely reliant upon their caretaker; this absolutedependency makes it extremely difficult for the child to escapefrom the situation.  Secondly, abuse can take many forms:emotional, active physical (beating), passive physical (neglect),and sexual, among others.  A third similarity can be found in thecauses of abuse.  Ms. Tyree pointed to drugs and alcohol as commonfactors; these are available the world over in one form oranother.  Ms. Ruffner discussed the inter-generational effects ofabuse, which are tied to psychological andphysiological components.  These have the capability to be presentin every human and so pervade all societies.

Differences between the manifestations of child abuse dependupon cultural, economic and political contexts.  For example, thetextbook discusses that isolation is one common factor in abusivesituations.  Isolation as the text described it, however, was interms of interaction with extended family and friends or "lack ofaccess to needed resources and services such as physicians,schools, and transportation" (455).  This is a definition that fitswell with a highly industrialized nation; however, developing andunder developed countries have a very different form of isolation,which (while it includes these components) also incorporatesphysical isolation and political isolation from access tolife-improving opportunities.  Additionally, a number of cultureshave different definitions of abuse: while any form of violencetoward a child may be abhorred in one society, the occasional andeven frequent beating of a child may be accepted in another. Furthermore, the overall economic wellness of a society determineswhat threshold an impoverished lifestyle is set at, and soconceptions of neglect will also vary.  Finally, political contextsare extremely important, as governments have different determinantsas to their responsibilities toward children.  In some countries,education is up to the initiative and financial abilities of theparents whereas in most developed nations, it is up to the state toprovide education.  As the panelists discussed, schools are oftenthe first line of defense against education, and thus a politicalcontext (the state's decision whether to provide education or not)becomes a huge impact in the prevention and understanding of childabuse.


Offline Paul . said 6 years ago

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I found it interesting that theUnited Stateswas right next to Samalia on the short list ofUN countries that did not sign the convention for children’srights.  I was absolutely blown away by some of the facts andfigures related to child abuse.  I had no idea of the sheer scope of children beingabused inAmerica, the lack of federal laws and initiatives inplace to protect children, and the completely overworked andunderstaffed state of Child Protective Services and social workorganizations.  There were some really stunning facts and figuresthat stuck in my mind.  Rebecca Ruffner reported that an estimated threemillion children are neglected or abused inAmericaevery year; Child HealthUSAestimated there were 73.7 million children underthe age of eighteen in 2006 which means four in every one hundredchildren are abused or neglected.  Rebecca also stated that for every one report ofchild abuse as many as nine incidences go unreported; only anestimate but no less shocking.  The statistic that was the most devastating camenear the end of the presentation, thirty percent of girls andfifteen percent of boys in theUnited Stateswill experience some sort of sexual abuse by thetime they are eighteen.  Something has to be done, people have to beinformed, ignorance is not an acceptable excuse for not acting toprotect these children, there is no excuse for it.  I feel that it is our duty, now that we areinformed, to act as advocates for the children in our communitiesby informing others.  We have to work together to better prepare young menand women for parenthood, to monitor and assist their progress asparents, to ensure that the extremely high (estimated by Dona Tyreeat eighty five percent) prevalence of substance abuse by parents inchild abuse cases be drastically reduced, and to have enoughmanpower to investigate every reported case of child abuse andabove all to work towards the prevention of abuse in the home.  The burden cannot be laid upon the government andsimply forgotten about.  It is obvious that the federal and state governmentsdo not have the resources or resolve to truly protect the childrenofAmerica.  We as communities must create coalitions whose solepurpose is the protection of children and the prevention of childabuse before it occurs.


There are aspects of child abuse that arepervasive throughout the world; while other aspects are localizedto a specific part of the world or nation.  According to a study of 30 developing countries doneby UNICEF and cited in the text, one in six children lives inpoverty, similarly, one in five children lives in poverty in theUnited States (US Census, 2008).  The mortality rates however, for children betweenbirth and their first birthday are in stark contrast.  In a study in 2000, 63 of every 1000 children indeveloping countries died before their first birthday, but the samestatistic in industrialized nations is 6 per every 1000.  Child abuse is strongly correlated with parentalsubstance abuse in several countries throughout the world. 

There are several factors that cause differencesbetween theUnited Statesand other countries.  Children may not be afforded the rights in othercountries that they are here in theUnited States.  In Islamic Indonesia and parts ofNorth Africafor example, young girls’ clitoris andlabia minor are removed.  This is not considered child abuse in that area andis common practice and claimed by some to be an integral part oftheir culture and religion.  In many developing countries there are no childlabor laws, protection for children, or agencies to advocate forthe rights of children.  As alarming as this weeks lecture video was for ushere inAmerica, the predicament that the impoverished andabused children of other countries find themselves in is even moredeplorable.






SOURCE: U.S.Bureau of the Census, Income, Poverty, andHealth Insurance Coverage in theUnited States: 2008, ReportP60, n. 236, Table B-2, pp. 50-5.

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I found this to be another formative yet heartwrenching discussion. Child abuse is a subject that everyone isfamiliar with but I do not think we realize the magnitude orprevalence of this issue. I was surprised when they mentioned thatmost likely everyone could name some family they knew or wereassociated with that had problems with abuse. After some thought Irealized that I could name a few people growing up who had beenvictims of abuse.  They stated that “3 to 5 million are neglectedand abused in the US and the majority is by their own parents. 30 %of girls are victims of sexual abuse and 15% are boys are victimsby the age of 18.” These statistics amaze me but it makessense to me after hearing them why child abuse continues to be soprevalent. Children who grow up in these situations, withoutreceiving proper intervention would have a skewed view of the worldand can only pass on to their children what they grew up knowing asnormal. This causes an ongoing never ending cycle of abuse. I thinkthe most devastating thing is that while children in abusivesituations can be placed in a better environment and their futurescan b vastly improved the damage done in their childhood can not beerased and causes ongoing life long scars that can greatly impactthe mental and emotional stability of the victim.

            The UN has come out with views onchildhood and the rights every child should have that have beenagreed by many nations. In there it mentions that “childhoodis entitled to special care and assistance, family is thefundamental group of society for the growth and well being ofchildren. Children have the right to grow up in happiness, love,and understanding. Children should b raised in peace, dignity,tolerance, freedom, equality, and solidarity.” This shows theviewpoints that are held the same in different countries. Childabuse is the same in all countries I think in that it is a problemthat is difficult to change because the abuse often occurs in thehome by family members.

I think the how the problem is dealt with andwhat constitutes as child abuse differs due to the cultural norms,economic status of countries. Poverty stricken countries do nothave the resources and funds to provide interventive programs forthe children or to increase education and awareness for theparents.  Also, some cultures view discipline differently fortheir children being much physical and what might be considered outof line and abusive in one culture is considered the norm fortheirs. Also, nations who are at war not only face poverty, butmight deal with child abuse inflicted from outside sources.Therefore I think nations can vary greatly in the ways theyapproach fixing the issue of child abuse, how they define it, andthe sources that are causing it. I think the majority of the abusecases still come from sources inside of families across all nationsthough and I think it is an issue all nations face and must correctand prevent.

The panel discussion and the videos that accompanied it did notreally surprise me as I know a few people who work for Arizona CPSso I am aware of how large the occurrence of child abuse is in thisstate.  The amount of stress that the huge number of child abusecases causes for the case workers goes to show just how hard thatline of work is mentally and also how easily child abuse affectsindividuals and thus the community.  The most enlightening part ofthe discussion was the video on teens who had been abused or whowere now abusing others because it was able to show the lastingeffects of child abuse.  It shows how easily child abuse cantrickle out to not only affect the abused child but also othersaround them whether they start abusing others or use differentcommunity resources in order to overcome the abuse.
            Child abuse in other countries has the sameeffects on the children who are abused as they are hurt not onlyphysically but also psychologically which effects theirdevelopment.  Child abuse is an underlying cause for many mentalhealth disorders and other deviant behavior which affects thecommunity as a whole and not just the child.  This stint indevelopment causes the abused children to use many differentresources provided by the community which drains the community ofsuch resources as foster care, counseling, and legal agents.  Childabuse prevention would help to alleviate this strain on communityresources so that they could be used for situations whereprevention was not so available or researched.  The effects ofchild abuse have been researched in great detail and have beenshown to not only effect the child but also others in the familyand also the community at large as it tries to protect the child. 
            Culturally child abuse is a sensitive subjectbecause what may seen like child abuse in developed countries maynot be seen as child abuse in underdeveloped countries.  This isdue to the higher quality of life that developed countries haveeven among their poor and disadvantaged compared to the quality oflife in underdeveloped countries.  The conditions of the poor anddisadvantaged in these countries, who due to their poor home lifealready have a predisposition for child abuse cases, may resort tochild abuse in greater numbers and thus have it be less of an issuein the community.  It may also be that the community has greaterissues at hand to deal with like poverty or disease so child abuseis overlooked and not regarded to be an issue. This also reflectsthe economic relationship between child abuse in differentcountries as poorer countries may not have the resources toproperly fund prevention programs and awareness programs in areasmost affected by child abuse.  If individuals and communities arenot aware of all the negative effects of child abuse, how toprevent it or how to handle cases of child abuse then it will notbe an issue that is addressed.  Politically child abuse differs indifferent countries because some governments have the resources andknowledge needed to not only mount prevention campaigns againstchild abuse but also the resources to effectively handle childabuse when it has been discovered.  Some countries do not have theinvestigative, police, or legal means to effectively take childrenout of abusive environments or punish those who are abusingchildren.  This lack of legislation also causes child abuse in somecountries to lose importance as an issue that needs to be addressedwhich allows for child abuse to continue and grow.

The discussion panel was shocking andinformative.  Some of the shocking statistics that stood out to mewere that over three million children in the United States aloneare neglected or abused and that for every one reported incidentthere are 9 that go unreported, so as a whole the scope of childabuse is somewhat unknown. 

Hearing from Dona Tyree on theefforts of CPS in Arizona is assuring, yet I have personally hadvery negative experiences with child protective services.  Duringcustody concerns within my family and of friends of mine, I havefound that CPS cannot respond in a timely manner and seems ofteninsensitive toward the concerned party.  I understand that one oftheir primary concerns is keeping families together and that theymust follow the scope of the law, yet I have often found myselffrustrated that they are not doing enough. 

On causes of child abuse, the idea ofthe neurological phenomenon was a new theory to me.  The fight orflight response that is instilled in children of unhealthyhomes that will re-emerge in their own parenthood prompting childabuse is an interesting presumption.  The other causes are morecommonly discussed which are drugs and alcohol as well as stressorsand crisis.

The physical and psychologicaleffects of child abuse on the victim are universal.  In different countriesyou will find different laws and levels of acceptability andtolerance, yet the child will suffer regardless of how the cultureviews what is happening to them.  All of the countries inthe United Nations, except for Somalia and the United States, havesigned the Convention on the rights of the child in November of1989, so to a degree it is expected that consequences for theseviolations will be similar within different nations.  Despite that, we are wellaware that overall domestic violence and gender inequalities varyin severity with developing countries falling far behind what mostof us would consider acceptable.


          I feel the panel discussion was very informational. Itgave me more insight to the processes that go on to help childrenand families. It was nice to have the presentation about ChildProtective Services (CPS).  I feel that this program has a badreputation because not all children are taken out of badsituations. CPS has a set of rules and laws they have to abide by.If the workers break the rules or laws then the system fails. Itwas also nice to know that employee numbers are low and the workerstry their best to do all they can within their shift. Partnershipswith the police and advocacy places help CPS workers care forchildren. Also, I did not know there were services to help reformthe family. Classes and counseling are provided to try and fix thefamily problems so children can stay with their family of originand be in a safe environment. I believe this idea of reformation isbetter than just punishing the perpetrator or taking a child out ofhis or her home (unless danger is present).

            Child abuse happens in every country, industrializedor not. Every type of abuse is possible including emotional,physical, sexual, etc. but some are more prevalent in differentcontexts. For example, children may experience exploitation,emotional, or physical abuse in war time. This may come in the formof children soldiers or prisoners. A family experiencing povertymay neglect the children because there is not enough food to goaround. Drugs and alcohol play a huge role in child abuse,especially in the United States. A person who cares more aboutgetting high then caring for their child is going to abuse a child,intentionally or not. Even gender plays a role in child abuse.According to the panel, men are more likely to commit extremephysical abuse and sexual abuse. Women are more likely to commitemotional abuse and neglect.

            However, preventions are being put in place to stopchild abuse. Parenting classes are offered. A nurse coming to thehome to help within the first several weeks of a birth helps reducechild abuse. Family counseling reduces child abuse. There are eveninternational, national, and local laws preventing child abuse.

I was shocked to learn how prevalent child abuse was in Arizonaand the United States in general.  One of the statistics statedthat 3 million children are neglected or abused each year.  Thisnumber is outrageous but I learned later that this is most likelyan underestimate! It was extremely disheartening to hear that theU.S. and Somalia were the only countries to not sign the U.N.declaration of children's rights.  The information presented aboutCPS was extremely useful and important because there are manymisconceptions and negative connotations associated with CPS.  Iwas glad that I got to see the process and exactly what CPS triesto do and with such a small amount of resources.  The video onsocial workers gave me an important glimpse into all the work thatthey do.  In the video, it was evident how passionate they wereabout their job and how important it was to protect children andfamilies and prosecute perpetrators.  The "Violent Times" video washard to watch because the pain that the kids live with was evidentand their stories were heart-wrenching.

One thing that child abuse across the world has in common is thefact that child abuse happens all over the world.  However, what isconsidered child abuse depends upon the cultural, political andsocial context of the country.  For example, the U.S. has strictchild labor laws but in many Third World countries child labor isessential in order for the family to survive.  The differences inchild abuse do not only happen between the social differences ofFirst and Third World countries but also happen amongst thesegroups.  For example, countries like the U.K. have social policiesthat prevent child abuse such as, more equitable wealthdistribution, parenting skills classes, and longer leave for newparents.  These types of programs focus on the root causes of childabuse which are most closely associated with poverty and substanceabuse.  Politically, the U.S. is conservative and has yet to adoptsimilar policies that focus on prevention ratherthan intervention.  Child abuse is a complex issue because it isintertwined with issues of poverty and substance abuse.  In anycontext, programs seeking to eliminate child abuse must also focuson the issue of poverty.        

Offline Lindsay Ann said 6 years ago

What are your reflections from the panel discussion? What doeschild abuse in different countries have in common, and what are thedifferences related to cultural, economic and politicalcontext?


Child neglect and abuse isnever an easy topic to learn about.  The statistics and thestories are simply heartbreaking.  It is hard to see thesechildren talk about how their parents left them, hit them, orsexually touched them.  It is however refreshingto see that our country has resources for these types of cases.  It is a relief to knowthat in the United States there is help our there for the 3-5million cases of child abuse that occur every year.  I think the biggest issuewith our rehabilitation system here in the United States is thefact that every abuse/neglect case is different, so it is almost asif a custom program must be created for each child.  Also obviously not everycase of abuse and neglect is reported, I believe the videomentioned that for every case that is reported another 9 cases gounreported.  So I am not sure if thisis due to a lack of awareness of the resources out there to help, alack of prevention, or just fear.  I think that the UnitedStates sees a very different kind of neglect and abuse than othercountries around the world do.  In other countrieschildren are not allowed to go to school, are forced upon religiousbeliefs, worked as slaves, or forced to be the victims of theirparents abuse as well.  Other countries are notas gender and ethnically equal as the US is, so people in variouscountries are not allowed to be educated, religious, or work due totheir gender or ethnicity.  Also neglect can bedefined as failure to provide the basic needs for a child, and inimpoverished places all around the world children are beingneglected of their basic needs of food, water, shelter, clothing,and medical care.  I think that any countrycan fall suit to child abuse, but the kind and ways amoung culturescan vary drastically.  I think the basic needsof children are defined differently in the United States than theyare in the most impoverished places of the world.  There are children livingon less than a dollar a day, and here in the United State wedon’t even think that it is possible to live off that kind ofmoney.  We see pictures of100’s of children living in cardboard boxes and torn clothingand we think that is the highest form of abuse and neglectpossible, but it some parts of the world that lifestyle is notuncommon at all. 

Sadly, I was not too surprised by the things I heard on thepanel. I worked at Durham County Department of Social Services,hearing and seeing things that were just unspeakable. I can alsorelate to the children interviewed in the Violent Times video. Infact, I was in a similar documentary done by Geraldo Rivera calledInnocence Lost. I also helped run a Teen Center in California wherethese stories were far more common than stories of happy, stablehomes. The panel touched on the cyclic nature of abuse, wherechildren growing up n abuse have not only psychological responsesto stress but physical/neurological ones as well. I would like toshare that not only does this cycle include the abused turning intoabusers, but it also sets up a situation where a child grows upwith a distorted and lacking sense of self esteem. Then the cyclealso takes an abused child into adult relationships where they feelabuse is necessary or a way of showing love. I had previouslyshared a little about my first marriage, both of us were brought upin violent and neglectful homes. He in turn was always afraid ofrejection or abandonment and I was unable to get close to others.This led to our violent relationship, which was only fueled by thefact that he was acting in a way he was taught and I felt that Ididn't deserve any better.

There were some things that were surprising to me in the paneldiscussion. Some of the statistics were alarming, such as therebeing nine unreported cases for every one that is reported and thatthere are more than 3 million reported cases in our country everyyear. Being a developed nation that tries to promote human rightsglobally, I was also surprised that we were one of two nations thatdid not sign the Convention on the Rights of a Child. I was alsosurprised to find that we are lagging behind other countries, suchas our European and Canadian counterparts in prevention methodssuch as family planning, education and household visits. The textmentions many successful programs such as Sure Start and 1,2,3,Go.I also found it interesting that in the text, comparison was madebetween need based and universal types of family resources, withthe universal programs showing more success. It was also amazing tome how progressive Europeans are in the way they view maternityleave and the importance of early childhood experience. It is sadto think that we are so engaged in what we think to be progressthat we are neglecting the most basic human needs such as familybonding.

Some of the factors that contribute to a dysfunctional family ona macro level should be less prevalent in developed nations such asours, however, these factors such as extreme poverty get compoundedor replaced with other factors such as drug and alcohol abuse. Inmy opinion, abuse is abuse no matter where it happens, thedifference may only lie in how it is perceived, recognized, dealtwith or accepted. In poorer countries, the stress factors thatcontribute to child abuse are much more pronounced, however, theissue of child abuse is not seen as much as a priority, perhapsbecause survival is the most important immediate concern. Somecultures may not view sending children to work on farms in lieu ofeducation to be abuse because it is keeping the family fed,however, people in this country would see it as abuse. Othernations do little or nothing to protect the rights of the child.The book made a really interesting point about what is happening ina poor portion of India. Even though the region is overpopulatedand economically disadvantaged, the redistribution of resources hasmade a huge difference. This goes to show that a swing inpolitical, cultural and economic context can make a big differenceon the macro and micro levels.


"What are your reflections from the panel discussion?

What does child abuse in different countries have in common,and what are the differences related to cultural, economic andpolitical context?"


I very interested in what the panel had tosay. I have always wanted to be involved in Social work and fostercare. I see there are so many children out there that need help andneed to have their voices heard. It was surprising to hear that theUnited States is one of the only countries that have a reportingsystem for abuse. I know our systems are not perfect but we are astep ahead of other countries. Also in the panel it was said thatthere are about 3-5 million reports of child abuse countrywide.This seems to me to be too much.

Arizona numbers are staggering and this has alot to do with the current economic times. Just as with the rest ofthe country. I also find that this is due to the high rate ofyounger people having children that they cannot support. This thenputs stress on them and leads tem to abuse the child. The newsrecently did a report on this and stated that the numbers were onthe raise.

It is also important that the representativefrom CPS gave some insight to how CPS works. I was one of thosepeople who had the negative view of cps. She was able to give apositive side to the workings of CPS. I was also surprised thatthey worked 24 hours a day. It was also wonderful that she statedthat she doesn’t feel like enough is done at times. This isimportant because as a community we need to band together andchange this.

In the video that was shown, there was a girlwho was abused by her father for years and didn’t tell for awhile. She talked about her behavior, which I found most importantbecause we now know the type of things to look for when dealingwith children who may have been abused.

I did not know that a child who has beenseverely exposed to child abuse by the age of three looks like thatof an Alzheimer’s patient. I recently took a Psychology classabout aging and I know how severe alhizimers can be.


I think the biggest difference acrosscountries regarding child abuse is that each country has adifferent idea of what is child abuse. For example if we think backto the stories our parents has told us about them being paddled inschool and then compare that to now there is a big difference. Ipersonally know some teachers and they are told to never touchchildren, not even hug them. If we look at other countries todaythey still use this type of punishment. So is it abuse ordiscipline? I think that is an important question. I personallygrew up being spanked and always knew that it wasn’t becausemy mother wanted to hurt me but as a way for her to teach me alesson for doing something I was told not to do. Then I look atsome of my friends who were never spanked and they feel it is abuseto do so. This could cause a problem when reports go into CPS. Iwant to also believe there are cultural differences and disciplinetechniques. I cannot locate the study online that talked about thisbut basically it did a project on different ethnic groups, thediscipline techniques used and why there was a different of what isconsidered punishment.

Another big difference in child abuse indifferent countries is that we have a better reporting system thenother countries. If you were living in Pakistan for example whatavenue would you have to reporting child abuse, what is the systemlike and how does it help the children? Pakistan does not have asystem like the United States so there is nowhere to reportissues.

Here in the United States we have a systemthat provides support for children and their families. The currenteconomic times have put an extra strain on families and thissometimes leads to child abuse. The good thing is that we have ajustice system that prosecutes people who are found to be abusersand we all need to do our part to report these issues when we seethem.



I learned a lot about child abuse from the lecture materials.  I was surprised at thenumber of abuse and neglect cases in Arizona – I didn’trealize numbers of abuse cases were that high, and its frighteningto think that that number is likely very low.  The video showing theteenagers who have been victims of child abuse was heart-wrenchingand also very informative.  One common threat amongall of the teens seemed to be that when they were being abused,drugs and alcohol played a major role.  Later, Rebecca Ruffnercommented that alcohol and drugs are major factors in neglect.  This isn’tsomething that’s particularly startling, I suppose – ifI had thought of it I might have guessed.  However, I thinkit’s a side of drug and alcohol abuse that isn’t oftendiscussed. 

I like the idea suggested that communities as a whole areresponsible for taking care of children.  In many other cultures,it is common for the whole village to participate in raising achild.  As a Community Assistanton campus, I spent one year working with a Community Director fromAfrica who was also a father.  He had two children, andat the beginning of the year he explained to us that when he livedin Africa, the whole community became responsible for raising thechildren.  He told us that duringthe course of the year, if we wanted to, he might ask us to watchhis children, play games with them, or help them learn somethingnew, since we lived in the same building and were part of the samecommunity.  I got the opportunity towork with his kids, and I believe they were more developed,independent, and curious than most other children I’ve met intheir age group.  I think interacting withmany different people gave them a wider understanding of the worldand prevented them from feeling safe only in the presence of theirparents.  Having experience thisphilosophy of raising children firsthand, I definitely agree thatpeople in the US should ask their communities to take a more activerole in child-rearing.  Obviously, however, thecommunity already does participate in preventing or stopping childabuse through school programs and Child Protective Services. 

I was shocked to learn that Arizona’s CPS only has 6 afterhours respondents for all of Maricopa county.  I think significantimprovement could be made to ensure that children receive timelyresponses to abuse issues.  I also think programslike CPS go underfunded.  Donna Tyee addressed anissue of counseling not working for children because once theyfinally develop a relationship with a counselor, often thecounselor leaves.  The high turnover ratemight be explained by the difficulty of the job, but I think acombination of a difficult, stressful job and low pay causecounselors to seek employment elsewhere.  Since oftentimes peoplewho have been abused go on to become abusers, it is important toprevention to provide counseling for victims of abuse.  If counselors were betterpaid, more people would go into those positions, and morecounselors would remain in their positions. 

I also really liked the concept that Sia Chamberlin proposed aboutevery person who works at the school being a counselor.  This fit really well withRebecca Ruffner’s prevention suggestion that people who workwith children should be educated in child behavior and development.  If everyone is acounselor, or has a potential ability to help a victim of childabuse or neglect, than everyone having adequate knowledge ofchildren will ensure that fewer children fall through the cracksand end up suffering longer.  




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human rights

Posted By:
Jennifer P.
November 1, 2009

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