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Child Abuse and Neglect by Parents and Other Caregivers (From World Report on Violence and Health, P 57-86, 2002, Etienne G. Krug, Linda L. Dahlberg, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-197425)

NCJ Number
Desmond Runyan; Corrine Wattam; Robin Ikeda; Fatma Hassan; Laurie Ramiro
Date Published
30 pages
After defining child abuse and neglect, this chapter discusses the extent of this problem, the risk factors, the consequences of child abuse, and what can be done to prevent child abuse and neglect.
In 1999 the World Health Organization's Consultation on Child Abuse Prevention drafted the following definition of "child abuse:" "...all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child's health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power." A review of the extent of the problem notes that in 2000, global estimates of child homicide were that 57,000 deaths attributed to homicide occurred among children under 15 years of age, with infants and very young children being at greatest risk. Estimates of nonfatal abuse of children focus on physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, and neglect. Consideration of the risk factors for child abuse and neglect encompass factors that increase a child's vulnerability (age, sex, and special characteristics); caregiver and family characteristics (sex, family structure and resources, family size and household composition, personality and behavioral characteristics, prior history of abuse, and violence in the home); community factors (poverty and social capital); and societal factors (cultural norms, child and family policies, preventive health care, and social conflicts). A section of the chapter on the consequences of child abuse considers the health effects and the financial burden on society. Suggestions for preventing child abuse and neglect focus on family support approaches (training in parenting, home visitation and other family support programs, intensive family preservation services, health service approaches, therapeutic approaches, and legal and related remedies); community-based efforts (school programs, prevention and education campaigns, and interventions to change community attitudes and behavior); and societal approaches (national policies and programs and international treaties). Recommendations focus on better assessment and monitoring, better response systems, policy development, better data, more research, documentation of effective responses, and improved training and education for professionals. "Boxes" within the chapter briefly discuss the manifestations of child abuse and neglect, corporal punishment, the prevention of child abuse and neglect in Kenya, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 4 tables and 153 references