FRHD 1020 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Elder Abuse, Schizophrenia, Ageism

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Chapter 14: Home Dangerous Home Abuse and Violence in the Family
What is Family Violence?
- Violence refers to many actions, ranging from throwing things, to shoving and punching, to using a
knife or a gun
- Although not usually recognized as violence, verbal abuse (eg. Yelling, screaming, swearing) is also
intimidating
- The issue of family violence and abuse suffers from confusing definitions
- Violence refers to an act intended to physically hurt another person
- Abuse refers to a situation where a person takes advantage of a less powerful one
- Violence and abuse encompasses neglect, sexual and emotional abuse, and financial exploitation, as
well as physical violence
Child Abuse
History of Child Abuse
- Historically, children were considered property of their parents, especially of their fathers. Fathers
decided who they would marry, whether they would live or die
- Infanticide the killing of babies was considered a form of birth control
- Parents and teachers used to punish children physically; children seen as basically bad and punishment
could transform them into God-fearing individuals
- Sexual exploitation was common arranged marriages, consummated before girls reached puberty
- Ancient Greece men to use boys for sexual pleasure; nobility most boys would take adult lovers
who would train them to be soldiers
- Most abuse was overlooked, privacy of own home
- Children‟s Aid Society formed in Toronto in 1891; At for the Prevention of Cruelty to and Better
Protection of Children passed in Ontario in 1893 initial concerns centred on child employment and
substitute caregivers
- C. Henry Kempe coined term “battered child syndrome” in the 1960s, mandatory laws passed
- By the late 1970s, 9 of 12 provincial/territorial jurisdictions passed laws and rest set up monitoring
programs
- In December 1991, Canada signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
What is Child Abuse?
- Battering (produces serious physical injuries), severe neglect, sexual exploitation; child witnessing
parents‟ violence is now considered abuse (2003)
- 46% of sexual abuse cases involved indecent exposure
- All definitions assume that appropriate standards of behaviour for parents exist
- Problem standards vary over time, what is appropriate discipline; cultural variations, social groups
variation some may consider abusive/neglectful and others may consider it responsible parenting
- Hard to detect emotional abuse, psychological aggression, and neglect
- Most laws allow parents to use “reasonable force” against children
- The Criminal Code of Canada allows physical discipline but when is it ever reasonable to be
abusive?
How Many Parents Abuse or Neglect Their Children?
- The true extent is unknown and depends on someone to report it; reporting has increased since the
1970s
- Most commonly investigated, by child welfare is neglect
- In 2007, 153 police services reported 53,400 cases of assault against those under age 18; 13,200 of
these at the hands of family members
- Family violence against children and youth were up 24% from a decade earlier attributed to
publicity about abuse, changes in definitions, compulsory reporting laws (emotional harm, neglect and
sexual exploitation not included)
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- Usually, only most extreme cases of abuse are reported to police or child protection agencies
- There are various explanations for low reporting and recognition rates:
First, since child abuse is frowned on by society, it may be hidden
Second, children may be too afraid or too young to disclose abuse
Third, professionals who see signs of abuse may not report the incident
Fourth, a parent‟s or caregiver‟s explanation for injuries may seem plausible, so that no one
becomes suspicious
Fifth, people may feel it isn‟t their business and therefore fail to report the abuse they know
about
- 1 in 2 girls are 1 in 3 boys are sexually abused but reanalysis suggests that 1 in 5 girls are 1 in 10
boys are sexually abused; more recently, for every 1000 children, sexual abuse is confirmed or
strongly suspected for 1.2 children; more than 4 times as many girls as boys are victims
- In Canada and the USA, reports of sexual abuse have declined in recent years
Which Children Are at Risk of Abuse or Neglect?
- Children at risk of being abused include unwanted children, children living with a lone parent, those
born either prematurely or suffering from perinatal complications, those with physical or mental
challenges, or those in poor health
- Nearly 1/3rd of physical abuse occurred in children under one year old, next highest was ages 1-3; thus
they are often particularly helpless
- Girls are at more risk of sexual abuse often emotionally deprived and socially isolated
- Sometimes, the perpetrator (the abuser) is the only person who shows the child affection and is often
someone who is expected to be protective
- Girls are most often sexually abused by family members
Is Spanking Child Abuse?
- In 2010, a father in New Brunswick was sentenced to 45 days in jail for spanking his 6-year old son
- The judge didn‟t believe that corporal punishment should always result in incarceration, but it was
appropriate for this case
- Most parents spank on occasionally
- Younger, less well-educated mothers spank more often; older mothers have other ways of managing a
child‟s behaviour
- Those who argue that spanking is not abuse may state that their parents spanked them and it did them
no harm
- Child development experts point out that parents who spank often tend to spank a lot and that the
severity usually increases
- Children that have been spanked in their childhood are more at risk for repeating this form of
discipline on their own children, therefore becoming abusers
- Taking on a moderate view, occasional mild spanking does no harm, but there are more effective
forms of discipline out there
- It‟s difficult to determine whether any negative effects resulting from physical punishment are
attributable to the punishment or other factors
What Kinds of People Abuse or Neglect Their Children?
- Perpetrators can be male or female and can differ in ages and their relationships with children; they
can be mothers, fathers, siblings, etc
- Originally, it was thought that abusers were mainly from the lower socio-economic level of society
this view however, was based on the fact that people who are on welfare, who come in contact with
social agencies and who live in apartments rather than houses are more open to observation and are
thus more likely to be reported
Physical Abuse
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- In an attempt to explain physical abuse, psychiatric models focused on the psychological
characteristics of the abuser
- Perpetrators are thought to have poor self esteem, are young and unmarried, most likely to have
experienced abuse
- Social interaction models recognize that abuse always take place in a certain context
- Abusive parents that experience high levels of stress, has poor coping techniques, are isolated and
have little social interaction, lack of financial resources, perceive parenting as stressful and feeling
they have little control; have difficulty in seeing relationships from a child‟s perspective
Neglect
- It‟s important to distinguish between short-term and chronic neglect; the latter has far more serious
effects
- Neglected children tend to live in families under stress often they have single parents and/or parents
who depend on welfare. Children in larger families are also more likely to be neglected, they are
endangered by their parents‟ failure to provide for them or protect them
- Neglectful mothers are often isolated, they may view their neighbours or relatives as unsupportive and
are less involved in social activities
Sexual Abuse
- Most studies have looked at father-daughter incest, rather than father-son abuse
- Abusers can be male or female, macho or saintly, introverted or extroverted
- In a 2006 Quebec survey, 22.1% of women, 9.7% men reported childhood sexual abuse; 1 in 5 never
disclosed the abuse, and men are the most unlikely to tell anyone
- Sexually abusive parents have two features in common: They are sexually aroused by children and are
likely to act on that arousal
- Other factors increase the likelihood of abuse: Isolated family, little relief from poor marriage and few
opportunities to extramarital sexual activity (prostitute or affair), the marriage is emotionally and
sexually unsatisfying, wife is not interested in sex, is ill, absent or disabled
- The oldest daughter is often at risk, especially if she is a parentified child her father may regard her
as a partner in a sexual as well as a parental sense
- Contrary to popular notions, women also sexually abuse both boys and girls 4% of sexual assaults
on children by family members were committed by females, half of them are mothers
- Child sexual abuse by women has many long-term effects similar to abuse by men
Child Witnesses of Domestic Violence
- 8% of children aged 4-7 in 1998-1999 had witnessed at least one episode of violence at home, while
5% had seen it often
- Affected by what they hear and see, terrified withdrawn, anxious, aggressive, delinquent; may come to
understand it as part of a close sexual relationship between adults
Children and Adolescents as Abusers
- Sibling Abuse: Used to be considered a normal experience of growing up
- Incidence percentage of the population affected or its after-effects
- In 2007, 28% of police reported cases involved siblings accused of sexual assault; 18% in physical
assault
- Boys are more accused than girls; some suggest brother-sister sexual abuse is more common than
father-daughter incest but there are fewer cases reported
- Often physical, emotional, and sexual abuse occur together
- Parents encourage their children to settle their own conflicts, unaware of the damage done or the
sexual activity among their children and the signs to watch for
- Parent Abuse: Only reported in extreme cases
- There‟s an estimate of 7-13% of children that attack their parents
- In 2005 police reported cases, 53% were aged 18+, and the remainder were under 18
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