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Child Abuse And Neglect Essay

1851 words - 8 pages

In Dent County alone, during the year of 2012, four children were physically abused, six were the objects of neglect, one was emotionally abused, and eleven more children were the victims of sexual abuse according to records kept by the Missouri Department of Social Services (“Child’s Division” 38). In that same year, 92,593 children were reported as being abused in the entire state of Missouri (“Child’s Division” 1). Fortunately, only 6,322 children were found to have been abused out of all of the children reported. However, an additional 7,092 were classified as ‘Unsubstantiated-Preventive Services Indicated.’ This means that not enough evidence existed to move further with prosecution, but still enough to indicate that abuse was imminent. Another 44,070 of the reports warranted an assessment of the child’s family in order to ensure the safety of the child (“Child’s Division” 5).
These numbers demand the public’s attention. The pain of just one child should be more than enough to cause a person to jump up and help, much less the pain of more than six thousand children. The U.S. Department of Justice calls children the “perfect victim” for six major reasons. Firstly, since children are typically not emotionally or physically mature, they will try to avoid talking about the abuse. The second reason that they provide is that often times the child does not want to betray the person who is abusing them due to the fact that, many times, the abuser is someone close to them or even related to them. Thirdly, many times there is not enough medical evidence or reliable eye witness accounts for the police to persecute a sexual predator. Unfortunately, the child’s testimony is easy for most any defense attorney to strike down. Two more reasons that the handbook provides are that the crimes are typically continuous and increasingly more terrible, and investigations often become complex since many cases involve more than one category of investigation and do not remain inside one jurisdiction. Finally, the U.S. Department of Justice admits that “the criminal justice system was not designed to handle the special needs of children” (Hammond et al. 2).
Child abuse is hard to prosecute because the perpetrators are often the last people that one would expect to take advantage of the boy or girl. Four of the five most common categories of the types of perpetrator are relatives of the victim. Sadly, the most common offender is the child’s natural parent with a total of 5,255 Missourians in the year of 2012 (“Child’s Division” 18). Following the parent is the parent’s significant other, a person not connected to the child, a stepparent, and, the last of the top five, a grandparent of the child (18). Almost an equal number of male and female perpetrators exist in the state of Missouri; there are only 8.3% more males (18). This problem thrives in homes where there is only one parent, drug problems, a lack of parenting skills, or domestic violence. However, to say...

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