Child Abuse in the United Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Most abuse is committed by parents, but stepparents also commit abuse, and this is another social factor that can lead to child abuse. Many sociologists believe that stepparents have less of a bond with stepchildren than their own children, and they may be led to abuse their stepchildren while they do not abuse their own children (Wilson & Daly, 1987, p. 217-220).

The Religious Theory

The religious theory of social cause cites control as a large cause of child abuse. From a very young age, the child is controlled by both the parents and the religious order. One sociological expert notes, "Believing parents do not merely indoctrinate their children on the virtues of their own religion. They warn their young against embracing other religions, against following their customs and beliefs" (Innaiah, 2003). Thus, children attend church from a very young age, and are controlled by their parents to attend church, believe in certain values and customs, and that anything else is wrong. Writer Innaiah cites several forms of child abuse that can result from religious practices and beliefs. They include: sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church that has been ignored or downplayed for decades, the condoning of female genital mutilation by some religions (Islam, for one), isolation of low-caste children in some Hindu societies, lack of health care for some children whose parents do not believe in using health care because of their religious beliefs, and male circumcision in the Jewish faith (Innaiah, 2003). These are only some examples of how religion can create socially acceptable child abuse and child brutality. This theory is not as accepted as other traditional social causation factors in child abuse, but it is a very real consideration when thinking about the many social causes of child abuse in the nation and the world today.

Other Social Phenomena

One major social phenomenon that has increased throughout society since the 1960s is violence. Researchers note that society has become increasingly violent in the last decade, and society has also become much more concerned about violence and violent behaviors in society. Much of this violence seemed unwarranted and unnecessary to many (such as political assassinations, terrorist activities, and the Vietnam War), and it fostered sensitivity to violence and more public awareness of violence. As society becomes more violent, it seems to send a message to society members that violent behavior is "OK" and even desirable in many cases. Thus, many abusers justify their behavior as acceptable.

Another phenomenon was more social awareness of the women's movement and in tandem, battered women. This brought more public understanding of violence in the home, and less acceptance of violent behavior toward women and children. This helped create more interest in studying why people become abusers, and led to more understanding of abuse in general and child abuse in particular. Often in history, physical and mental abuse in the home was not acknowledged at all by the family members. To the outside world, the family seemed normal and functional. When society became more aware of abuse in the home, they became less accepting of this behavior, and encouraged victims to get help and remove themselves from the violent situation. This also helped make abuse less acceptable, but also created more opportunities to study and understand the causes of abuse.


Child abuse can be stopped, and early intervention is one way many experts attempt to identify and combat child abuse. Abusers are encouraged to view misbehavior in their child with different attitudes, and they are also taught positive reinforcement and coping strategies for when they are tempted to abuse their children. Sociologists and psychologists have developed different strategies to deal with the different types of abusers, and so it is important to identify the type of abuser the subject is, in order to treat them effectively and make sure the treatments have a positive effect on further abuse. Since most child abuse (over 3/4ths according to many accounts) is by parents, it is important to give social workers, educators, and other public service providers the tools to recognize social triggers to child abuse. If a family history of abuse exists, then workers should also be aware that abuse could happen again.

Unfortunately, intervention does not always work. Many cases of child abuse go unreported, and even if it is reported, there is quite a low rate of controlling the problem by therapy or other intervention. Some studies do show that intervention in the guise of increased parental awareness and understanding so they can deal with social stressors in more effective and acceptable ways has helped in a number of child abuse situations (Newberger, 1987, p. 243).

In conclusion, it is quite clear that a wide variety of different social causes can lead to child abuse. It is also clear that these many social causes lie outside the abuser themselves and instead are often out of the abusers control. Many studies have linked child abuse to people who were abused as children themselves, but studies are now showing that a majority of abusers were not abused in childhood, and this also indicates social, rather than biological or ecological causes for abuse. It is clear that child abuse is a pervasive and troubling issue in society, and that there are a wide variety of causes. Some may be biological and others may be ecological in nature, but the biggest causes of child abuse in this country are social causes, and until these social pressures and stresses can be eliminated, then child abuse is bound to continue.

Understanding the social causes of child abuse can help treat the abuser and prevent abuse from occurring in the first place. In addition, since the family is the most common social unit in our society, families who are dysfunctional tend to create more social problems and unrest in society. When a family passes down abuse from one generation to the next, the pattern continues and multiplies. Understanding the social phenomena that can lead to child abuse can also help people learn how to recognize the cycle and break it before it begins. Child abuse is one of the worst forms of abuse facing our nation today, and it must be controlled - for both the abusers and the children's sakes.


Gelles, R.J. & Lancaster, J.B. (Eds.). (1987). Child abuse and neglect: Biosocial dimensions. New York: Aldine De Gruyter.

Innaiah, N. (2003, Summer). Child abuse by religions: Children must be rescued from religion and restored to humanity. Free Inquiry, 23, 47+.

Morales, a. (1998, September). Seeking a cure for child abuse. USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education), 127, 34+.

Newberger, C.M. (1987). Chapter 10 Time, place, and parental awareness: a cognitive-developmental perspective on family adaptation and parental care. In Child Abuse and Neglect Biosocial Dimensions, Gelles, R.J. & Lancaster, J.B. (Eds.) (pp. 233-251). New York: Aldine De Gruyter.

Shull, J.R. (1999). Emotional and psychological child abuse: Notes on discourse, history, and change. Stanford Law Review, 51(6), 1665.

Tzeng, O.C., Jackson, J.W., & Karlson, H.C. (1991). Theories of child abuse and neglect: Differential perspectives, summaries, and evaluations. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Vander Mey, B.J., & Neff, R.L. (1986). Incest as child abuse: Research and applications. New York: Praeger Publishers.

Wexler, R. (1993, Spring). Child abuse - the wrong message. Nieman Reports, 47, 18+.

Wilson, M., & Daly, M. (1987).…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Child Abuse In The United" (2005, June 22) Retrieved October 21, 2016, from

"Child Abuse In The United" 22 June 2005. Web.21 October. 2016. <>

"Child Abuse In The United", 22 June 2005, Accessed.21 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Child Abuse in the United

    These stories all make child abuse seem commonplace. While child abuse is still a problem in the United States, it is not one that is so common that people forget it. Everyone considers child abuse a heinous crime against children. Grassroots organizations are forming all over the country to protect children from child abuse and to provide them, their friends and family members with support. Many of these including

  • Child Abuse & Erik Erikson

    Child abuse no doubt hampers the victim's personality growth and development, as backed out by various publications, studies and research. During these formative years, we are delicate and breakable. Our environment and our relationships either make or break us. The aggressive, apathetic or withdrawn behavior can be traced to feelings that they hardly anyone can be trusted, or that they are inferior to others. All these are residual effects that

  • Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention

    232). References Ashley, O.S., Brady, T.M., & Marsden, M.E. (2003). Effectiveness of substance abuse treatment programming for women: A review. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 29(1), 19. Bradley, R.H., & Corwyn, R.F. (2002). Socioeconomic status and child development. Annual Review of Psychology, 371. Dane, B. (2000). Child welfare workers: An innovative approach for interacting with secondary trauma. Journal of Social Work Education, 36(1), 27. Dodds, T.L. (2006). Defending America's children: How the

  • Child Abuse in England Using Given Scenario

    Child Abuse in England Initial Information The bruises on Clara's upper arms are indicative of something serious that the health visitor, if she, indeed, has been seeing her for two and a half years, should have noted or anticipated. The account given is so scanty that the general information can hardly be gleaned. The other family members should have been asked or given in the account, even if the health visitor does

  • Child Abuse in Literature

    Child Abuse in Literature Child Maltreatment Child maltreatment entails all types of neglect and abuse of a child below eighteen years by caregivers, parents or any other person (Crosson-Tower, 2006). Child abuse encompasses all forms of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or child exploitation that causes potential or actual harm to a child's well-being, dignity and development (Smith & Fong, 2004). According to Scannapieco & Connell-Carrick (2005), child maltreatment is

  • Child and Elder Abuse Child Abuse the

    Child and Elder Abuse Child Abuse The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) publishes a website called -- and the section called "What do I need to know about child abuse?" provides excellent information on the particulars of child abuse. The Healthy Children site points out that child abuse "…is common," and hence, with all the reports on television and in the newspapers about children being mistreated, it should cause parents, guardians,

  • Child Abuse You Are an

    First, briefly define the Resiliency Model. Then, using this video as your case study: What concepts from the Resiliency Model can you identify that were illustrated in their stories? Describe and explain. Considerations include: Did you hear any recurring themes mentioned by more than one of these young adults? What did they describe as being most valuable to them during their foster care experiences? Consider some of their recommendations:

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved