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Child Abuse Essay: Long Term Effects

A Sample Essay on Child Abuse (Example for Free)

The number of child abuse and neglect reports has soared over the past twenty years.  The most recent national data based on information from forty four United States report that approximately 984,000 children were maltreated in 1997 (Dallam, 2001)This data reflects an increase in reported victims of child maltreatment from 931,000 in 1986 (Dallam, 2001). Many current intervention programs for child maltreatment focus on improving parenting skills of maltreating parents, and on teaching good parenting skills to at-risk parents.   Available articles on the topic point to the fact that there are physical, psychological, behavioral and social long term effects of child abuse and child neglect. This paper seeks to analyze these long term effects of child abuse on the basis of the available literature and research articles on the topic.

While the immediate physical effects of child abuse or neglect may be seen as minor and in most instances neglected (cuts and bruises), the long term effects may be too grave to deprive the child the ability to lead a responsible and normal future life. The reason as to why some children are able to cope with the long term effects of abuse and negligence than others is not particularly hard to point out.  This is because the long term effects are closely associated with immediate (short term effects). The immediate physical effects of child abuse and neglect that involves shaken baby syndrome which is a major and common form of child abuse include vomiting, seizures, concussions, respiratory illness and even death.

The long term consequences of shaken baby syndrome according to Chalk, Gibbons and Scarupa (2002) include “blindness, learning disabilities, mental retardation, cerebral palsy or paralysis.” The consequences of blindness of include the deprivation of normal life and permanent physical disability that deprives the child the capacity to pursue a career in line with his or her ambitions.  In addition to the above, child abuse has the long term effect of impaired brain development. According to Chalk, Gibbons and Scarupa (2002), “child abuse and neglect have been shown, in some cases, to cause important regions of the brain to fail to form properly, resulting in impaired physical, mental and emotional development.” The inability to achieve a full developed brain during the formative years of a child has a resounding long term effect in the general lie on the future of the child. This relates directly to the way the child handles both mental and emotional complications that defines the quality of his or her life in future.

In most severe cases where the development of the brain development is totally impaired, the stress of chronic abuse has the capacity to cause hyper-arousal effect from some sections of the brain. These responses have been demonstrated to cause hyperactivity, high levels of anxiety and inability to achieve full time sleep often described as sleep disorders.  Furthermore, impaired brain development increases the levels of vulnerability to post traumatic stress disorder, reduced levels of attention and the learning and memory difficulties. The common consequence of post traumatic stress in most cases is homicide and suicide. On the effect of the physical health as a long term effect of abuse and neglect of children, children who have been in foster care have been examined to experience some kind of physical or mental complication. These are products of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/ AIDS and other medical complications that include heart disease, skeletal fractures and liver complications (Dallam, 2001).  In addition, they are permanent physical deformities that have the capacity to affect the normal life of a child for the rest of lifetime.  The next psychological consequence is the cognitive difficulties because of the general low performance in their measure of cognitive capacity, language development and academic achievement.

The psychological consequences of the abuse and neglect are demonstrated on isolation, fear and the inability to trust. These psychological consequences translate into life long abnormal character traits demonstrated in problems with relationships, lack of self confidence and control, low self esteem and depression. The link between poor mental and emotional health on the victims of abuse and neglect is shown by the number of the psychiatric disorders these victims experience by the age of 21. The young victims have exhibited problems in relation to eating disorders and attempted suicide. Lastly, children who are abused and neglected have the inability to form long term and secure attachments to their surroundings and environments. These difficulties in early attachments lead to future problems in relationships with other adults and their age-mates.

The behavioral consequences of this wide-spread problem are often demonstrated in difficulties during adolescence, juvenile delinquency and adult criminality, alcohol and drug abuse and abusive behavior.  Difficulties in adolescence are as a result of the inability to make right judgment in dealing with rising challenges in their lives. These have led a large fraction of this affected group to child delinquency, teen pregnancy and poor academic achievement. Juvenile delinquency and adult criminality form a critical character of children who have been unable to effectively deal with the history of abuse. These have led to the likelihood of arrests and increased criminal behavior. The abuse of alcohol and drugs is more rampant in children with history of abuse due to their inability to adjust socially to the challenges they face in life. In conclusion, children who have faced long history of abuse and neglect have demonstrated a long list of problems that are in both direct and indirect cost to the society.