Essay on child maltreatment and the aspect of sexual abuse occurring in the lives of young children

Submitted By jesslevine
Words: 3153
Pages: 13

Professor Alan Weber
Early Childhood Education
11/9/11
As a young college student, I have recently become very interested in subject of Psychology. During my third semester here at Suffolk County Community College, I decided to enroll in my first psychology course. PSY101 fascinated me in many ways; learning to understand the basic principles of human development and behavior in their application to everyday life was something I found that everyone could relate to. Many different, yet all similarly linked subjects came about throughout this course, such as how emotions, conflicts, personality, motives, perception, stress and even anxiety affect communication processes in social environments. Abuse was also a major topic we came across. We learned that this arises not only in adult life but in adolescent life as well. This is what sparked me to choose to research the topic of child maltreatment and the aspect of sexual abuse occurring in the lives of young children. Child sexual abuse is a large and growing concern in the development of children in relation to the course of Early Childhood Education. When settling on this topic, many questions quickly came to mind. I initially wanted to know what exactly sexual abuse was defined as, the causes, effects, and treatments of sexual abuse in young children, age ranges, genders, and races of children who this most often occurs to, statistics of family members vs. strangers who are the abusers, and how the abuse creates repressed memories. I would say that I know generalizations about this topic such as how sexual abuse, or any abuse for that matter greatly affects the most important years of development for a young child, which in turn causes a variety of psychological issues and disorders within a young adult’s life. I would also say that I don’t believe to have any biases or blind spots about this particular topic because I haven’t myself been affected by sexual abuse, or personally know anyone who has been affected as well. After researching this topic, I hope to learn how to correctly educate and help others who don’t know about or who have been affected by sexual abuse. I will begin my research at the Sachem Public Library; from there I will take my search to the internet where I hope to gain even more insight on the influence that sexual abuse has on lives of young children who are affected by this every day and for the rest of their lives. The maltreatment, neglect and abuse of children occurs more often than we wish to know. Child abuse is labeled as the most serious harm that can be committed against children. “Each State provides its own definition of child abuse and neglect based on minimum standards set by Federal law (CWIG, 2008: 1).” In the State of New York, the maltreatment and negligence of a child who is under the age of 18 is referred to as the physical, mental, or emotional impairment as a direct result from the failure to parent in a certain degree (ATE, 2010: 14). In New York State, Congress has passed several laws over a significant period of time on the behalf of children’s safety. In 1974 the Federal Government passed The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). This act defined child abuse and neglect as well as provided a minimum set of behaviors for each state to then determine their own definition based on the federal legislation. CAPTA and the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) minimally defines child abuse and neglect as “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation…an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.” CAPTA has helped most of the states to recognize physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect as the four main types of child maltreatment continuing in today’s society (ATE, 2010: 11). CAPTA also touches on abandonment and substance abuse as two more main…