Child Abuse and Neglect in Australia
Child abuse is a basic issue which needs to be discussed in great depth with the right dimension. Child abuse cannot be distinguished based on age, sex, race or religion. Any children for any reason can be victimized at any time. According to Hatty, and James, “… a child is more likely to be abused by someone known…” (2). Today parents and children are facing this problem. The fear is someone intentionally or unintentionally is hurting the child by some or other way. This person can be any one among the whole lot of social groups. He/she may be from the family, friends, neighbors, teacher or anyone else. As summarized by the World Health Organization, “Child abuse or maltreatment constitutes 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” (59). The parents who abuse and neglect their child have also been maltreated as a child, have a violent marriage, or have a mental problem, including parent depression. Considering the fact that this has become one of the biggest issues in Australia, educators have been given the duty of protecting children the best way they know how. This paper will address all the issues surrounding child abuse in Australia, and what are they doing to prevent and lower the risk of abuse (WHO 6).
Child abuse is, however, more generally characterized by the deliberate infliction of physical, emotional or sexual harm on the child. Child neglect can also incorporate a situation in which there is a failure to provide conditions which are essential for the health, physical and emotional development of the child. Physical Abuse is characterized by physical injury (for example, bruises and fractures) resulting from practices such as punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, or otherwise harming a child. The physical injury may emanate from either a single episode, or from repeated episodes. It can range in severity from minor bruising to death. A single bruise, for example, may be inflicted inadvertently; however, old and new bruises in combination, bruises on several areas of the face, or bruising in an infant suggest abuse (DePanfilis and Salus 59). Emotional Abuse is a behavioral pattern whereby a parent or caregiver attacks a child’s self-esteem and social competence over a period. Emotional abusing a child can be detrimental to that child’s life, so is it really worth it to say something hurtful? Some examples of actions which may result in emotional abuse are: children constantly being told they are no good or worthless; children being continually rejected and shown no affection; children subjected to repeated verbal abuse and threats; children punished by being locked up alone or not being allowed to have friends or social activities (WHO 59). Sexual Abuse occurs when an adult or older person uses his or her power over a child to involve the child in sexual activity. The abuser may trick, bribe, threaten, and if necessary force a child to take part in sexual activity. Child sexual assault can include suggestive behavior or comments, exposure, fondling genitals, masturbation, oral sex, and penetration of the vagina or anus by a finger, penis or any other object (WHO 59-60).
Child abuse and neglect can have a life-changing effect on individuals, and many carry trauma with them for a long time, even their whole lives. While many survivors are able to rebuild their lives, there can be many hurdles to overcome. Children who are subjected to abuse or neglect may experience fear and bodily harm, poor school performance, learning disorders, poor peer relations, antisocial behavior and mental health disorders. Emotional abuse and neglect is associated with increased anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and physical symptoms, as well as lifetime trauma exposure (WHO 59). A history of child sexual abuse has been associated with psychopathology, depression, anxiety disorder, phobias, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and violent and sexual offending later in life. The intergenerational effects of child abuse and neglect mean that problems can repeat themselves, and the cycle continues.
According to a report that recorded the types of child abuse reported in Australian states and territories in 2011–12, there were 48,420 substantiated cases of child endangerment, of which 5,828 were cases of sexual abuse. 20,000 reports were filed in 2015-2016 and 403 cases of repeated abuse. There are many more child abuse cases that have never been reported. From the numerous cases of child abuse and neglect being reported, the Australian authorities have found that nearly forty thousand children undergo this issue each year. Only 20 percent of physical abuse, 38 percent of emotional abuse, 28 percent of child neglected, and 13 percent of sexual abuse cases were reported in year 2012-2013. Evidence from reports indicate that most sexual assaults in Australia are undertaken by perpetrators who knew the victim. In Australia one child is abused every twelve minutes (Scott 15). Boys are more likely a victim of a physical abuse than a girl child. Another consequence that is brought with child abuse is death. According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare(AIHW), one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of fifteen is injury implicated from physical child abuse. It’s one thing to correct your child, and it’s an entirely different thing to assault him/her. Over recent years the reported levels of child neglect and abuse in Australia have increased at an alarming rate. Child abuse has become an issue of national concern. Meanwhile, statutory child protection systems are struggling under the load. The Australian Government is determined to take a national leadership role that builds the partnership across government and the community that is essential to protect all Australian children (Child protection 1).
Just over 7% of catholic priests were accused in abusing children in Australia between 1950 And 2010. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard that 4,44o alleged incidents of pedophilia were reported to church authorities and in some dioceses, more than 15% of priests were perpetrators. 1 in 14 priests in Australia are accused of child abuse (Mercer 1). Australians are quite rightly upset because the Catholic Church hierarchy failed to act to expose and stop long-term, egregious child sexual abuse of up to about 40,000 Australian children by Catholic Church personnel. However, look-the-other-way, Australia resolutely ignores 4.4 million Australians adults who have been sexually abused as children. The average age of victims at the time was 10.5 for girls and 11.5 for the boys. The St John of God Brothers religious order fared the worst, with just over 40 percent of members accused of abuse. A child abuse survivor Andrew Collins once tried telling his mother about what happened to him and how he was abused by two teachers, a priest and a Catholic brother, but his mother told him to that it was all rubbish and a god’s man would never do that (Child abuse 1-3).
There are only 3% of aborigines’ people in Australia. There have been numerous reports and inquiries which have shown high levels of abuse and neglect in many aborigines’ communities in Australia. Aborigines children are more than five times abused than non-aborigine’s children to be the subject of a substantiation. 4000 aborigines Australians die each year because of child abuse. A police operation in the Pilbara identified that many people did not report child abuse because they believed child sex abuse was part of aboriginal culture and that teenage pregnancy was a norm. Sex abuse is not part of aboriginal culture, rather it is a practice built out of intimidation of women and children. aborigines were the first humans from Africa and they travelled to Australia by an accident (Wood 372). Australia is separated from other countries by sea, at that time human had no resources or boat to traveled through the water. During Tsunami and flood many aborigines were drifted in the ocean and that way they made it to Australia. When the Aborigines released that the Australian weren’t the spirit of their ancestors, they killed several number of Australians (Wood 371). In return the Australians slaughtered and poisoned the aborigines and destroyed their land. The aborigine’s population dropped to 60,000 from 300,000. In between 1910 and 1970, up to 100,000 Aboriginal children (known as the ‘stolen generation’) were taken from their parents and put in white foster homes or sent to orphanages; many never saw their parents again. It was known as an ‘assimilation’ policy (Colley 59-63, 171).
Preventing child abuse is not simply a matter of parents doing a better job, but rather it is about creating a context in which “doing better” is easier. Enlightened public policy and the replication of high-quality publicly supported interventions are only part of what is needed to successfully combat child abuse (WHO 15). It remains important to remind the public that child abuse and neglect are serious threats to a child’s healthy development and that overt violence toward children and a persistent lack of attention to their care and supervision are unacceptable. Individuals can accept personal responsibility for reducing acts of child abuse and neglect by providing support to each other and offering protection to all children within their family and their community (WHO 16). As sociologist Robert Wuthnow has noted, every volunteer effort or act of compassion finds its justification not in offering solutions for society’s problems but in offering hope “both that the good society we envision is possible and that the very act of helping each other gives us strength and a common destiny” (Wuthnow 304). When the problem is owned by all individuals and communities, prevention will progress, and fewer children will remain at risk. In my opinion detecting the early signs of abuse will end further harm to child, better chance for recovery, and appropriate treatment will be provided for the child. Since the family is the core of love and care for the child, it is important to bring their attention and highlight the causes and effects of child abuse, so they can play significant role in stopping the matter. Therefore, proper awareness of the community plays an important role in preventing this problem from going further.
There are many organization and programs in Australia called The National Child Protection Council(NCPC), the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, and Australians against the Child Abuse. They provide the parents and kids direct access to the information, support, protection, treatment, shelter, and therapy for the kids who were abused. They support the victims and help the parents and the neighborhood recognize the sign of abusive behavior. There is also another group called Kids helping that provide a free phone service for the kids all through the country (Hatty et al. 2). Actions that bring about child abuse include inappropriate sexual exploration, excessive discipline, abandoning the child, beating among others. The Australian government expects every parent and educators to take up their responsibility of ensuring every child is protected from any abuse. Teachers have been given an obligation of being in a position of identifying and familiarizing themselves with kids who are undergoing this issue. Any child can experience this effect at any moment as most sexual perpetrators have been seen to be related to the child (Hatty, and James 3). From the numerous cases of child abuse and neglect being reported, the Australian authorities have found that nearly forty thousand children undergo this issue each year. Most cases go unreported, and this acts as evidence that child abuse and neglect is a matter that the Australian government needs to sort out as it increases when ignored.
We need to maintain a good family environment and some parents need to trust their kids when they complain about someone who has been touching them at no touch zone body parts. Australians are quite rightly upset because the Catholic Church hierarchy failed to act to expose and stop long-term, egregious child sexual abuse of up to about 40,000 Australian children by Catholic Church personnel. However, look-the-other-way Australia resolutely ignores 4.4 million Australians adults who have been sexually abused as children. To sum up, it is clear that child abuse has affected the way the Australian Government views their societies. It’s hard to understand that a parent can decide to neglect or abuse their child yet he/she has the responsibility of protecting that child. What children go through after being abused is damaging and severe. It’s everybody’s responsibility to report to the actual authority when they come across anybody mistreating a child. Children are the future of any country, and if Australia is to prosper in future, it needs to ensure its children are well protected and safe.