Child abuse Essay

This essay has a total of 2564 words and 14 pages.

Child abuse

Child Abuse Laws
David A. delpezzso

Child abuse is a social problem that affects millions of children each year. Not only
does child abuse have multiple societal repercussions, but also individual repercussions
that produce lifelong scars. There are many forms of child abuse; sexual, physical,
verbal, and emotional. Some of the facts presented in this paper will be painful to
absorb. That does not change the fact that these problems must be addressed. It has been
reported that one out of three girls, and one out of seven boys are sexually abused by the
time they reach the age of 18. The most prevalent form of child sexual abuse is now
recognized to be, incest. A study that showed approximately 27% of the women in every
state of the union, and 16% of the men said they had been sexually abused as children.

Child Abuse Laws
Child abuse. Two words that should never have to be seen side by side. Yet, child abuse
is very much a reality in this world. Unfortunately, to wish otherwise would be the
same as to wish for a perfect world. We must do the best that we can as a society with
the power of laws on our side to help the innocent young victims of child abuse. We have
a responsibility as human beings to do all that we can for these children. Some of us
fulfill this responsibility by promoting awareness, some by donating time, money, or
services, some by getting laws passed, and some by enforcing laws that protect children
from all kinds of abuse.

The purpose of this study was to research child abuse from all angles to try to understand
what we as a society may be doing wrong & also what we may be doing right to help the
young victims of child abuse. To look at all types of studies & compare them & try to
break them down to better understand them. The first things that should be understood are;
the characteristics of the offenders, the types of offenses, & some of the societal issues
that are listed as possible causes of child abuse.

Studies show that the characteristics of sexual abuse offenders are; dependent, inadequate
individuals with early family histories characterized by conflict, disruption,
abandonment, abuse, and exploitation.

In 1997, over 3 million children were reported for child abuse and neglect to child
protective service agencies in the U.S.. These figures have gone up from year to year
approximately 1.7% per year. Since 1985, the rate of child abuse fatalities has increased
by 34%. Of these fatalities, 78% were children under the age of 5. 38% were under one
year of age. The top 6 causes of child abuse listed were: 1. Drug addiction 2.
Poverty 3. A violent society 4. A lack of community ties 5. A family
history of violence 6. Lack of parenting skills.

The information obtained in this research paper was drawn mostly from various internet
web-sites. I read all of the pertinent issues related to this topic. All sides of the
issue were accounted for. For example; stories, facts, & figures as they are told by
adults, the children, law enforcers, law makers, the accused, the falsely accused etc.
This information then had to be sorted out according to what was fact, and what was
opinion. I was looking mostly for law related issues, and I received a lot of other
valuable pieces of information along the way. I pieced the information together in a way
that I felt would make sense to a reader who was trying to get a good general
understanding about child abuse laws.

One valuable source of information pertained to the American Bar Association Center on
Children and the Law (established in 1978). Its mission was to try to help improve
children's lives through advances in law, justice, knowledge, practice, and public policy.
Its work includes such jobs as; strengthening laws, policies, and judicial procedures
affecting children, and increasing public awareness of law and justice related to
children. The center has also taken on such projects as, removing barriers to the
termination of parental rights and helping courts to improve child protection case
handling practices. They also pledged to work to establish clear standards for
attorneys in the representation of children, parents, and child protection agencies in
child abuse and neglect cases. Also, to persuade legislature to strengthen the
representation of children, parents, and child protection agencies in child abuse and
neglect cases.

According to the ABA Division of Media Relations and Public Affairs, in 1995, 3.1 million
children were reported to child protection agencies as being abused or neglected. That
was double the number reported in 1984. Of the 3.1 million children reported, 996,000
children were confirmed after investigation to be abused or neglected.

A study released in 1996 by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services suggests these
totals are drastically understated. The National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and
Neglect found that 2.8 million children were believed to have been actually abused or
neglected in 1993. In addition, the study found that the number of children nearly
quadrupled between 1986 and 1993. While the number of children reported to be abused or
neglected has increased each year, the number of reports investigated has stayed about the
same for each year. Several sources show (in approximate measures) that the following
types of abuse reported to be broken up in the following way:

The Volunteers for Children Act of 1998 was an amendment to the National Child Protection
Act of 1993. The Volunteers for Children Act was signed into law by President Clinton as
Public Law 105-251. Under this act, organizations and businesses dealing with children,
the elderly, and the disabled would be able to use a national fingerprint based criminal
history check to screen out volunteers and employees with relevant criminal records.

Also under this amendment, if a volunteer or employee of an organization sexually molests
a child in his care and if it can be shown that he/she had been previously convicted of a
relevant crime, the organization may be held liable under the legal theory of "negligent
hiring". This act also demands that if a current or potential volunteer or employee has a
relevant criminal history, he or she must be prevented from having unsupervised access to
children, the elderly, or the disabled. Such a person must not be placed in a position
where he or she may easily victimize again.

It is said that an employer has a clear duty to use "reasonable care in hiring" and
retaining employees who are competent and fit for their positions. The question is then
raised to the definition and scope of "reasonable care". What is considered reasonable is
usually determined with each separate case, as the circumstances surrounding each case
will vary. It is said that the liability of the employer will not be based solely on his
or her failure to investigate the criminal history of the applicant, but on the total
circumstances surrounding the hiring. It will have to be determined if the employer
exercised reasonable care in hiring or not.

Sometimes in determining these types of cases, the court will look at the
"sensitive-nature" of the position at hand. When an employee is being hired for a
sensitive occupation, it is important that the employer fully investigates that person. A
mere lack of evidence may not be sufficient to discharge the obligation of the employer to
exhibit "reasonable care in hiring".

The principle of reasonable care in hiring also applies to the selection of volunteers,
since the purpose of this rule is to assign responsibility for injuries to third persons.
A notable case out of Virginia deals directly with the issue of liability for the
negligence of a volunteer. In "Infant C. v. Boy Scouts of America, Inc." (391 S.E. 2d
322(Va.1990)), a child and his parents sued both the national and local Boy scouts office
for negligently selecting and retaining a volunteer scoutmaster with a criminal record for
sexually assaulting scouts in another state, who allegedly molested the child plaintiff.
The courts inquiry turned on the selection process itself and found that the evidence
supported the jury's determination that the national organization did not participate in
selecting the scoutmaster. Accordingly, the appellate court affirmed that portion of the
jury's verdict dismissing the claim against the national Boy Scouts of America
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