Child Abuse Hurts But People Can Help

November 18, 2012
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In the United States, Over 3.5 million children are abused or neglected each year, and 1,500 children die due to child abuse and neglect (prevent child abuse). According to the Children’s Defense Fund website, in Utah 13,500 children are abused each year, and a child is abused every 38 minutes. When males are abused it increases the likelihood of their arrest by 53% as a child, and as an adult by 38%. Abused females increase their criminal activity by 77% (net wellness). Child abuse is a big part of crime in Utah, and it should be stopped with more reporting and enforcement and reducing drug and alcohol abuse by parents.

Child abuse is any act, or failure to act, the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious emotional and physical harm, or sexual abuse (prevent child abuse). Children are typically abused by some caretaker, like a parent or relative. There are four different types of child abuse: physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect. Physical and sexual abuse are the most common.

Sexual abuse is any sexual activity with a child, before the age of legal consent. For example rape, or to touch the child’s private organs is sexual abuse. In most cases, the child knows the abuser. Emotional abuse is to ignore, terrorize, or isolate a child. Physical abuse is the non-accidental infliction of physical injury. Physical abuse can be proven by an injury, such as a bruise or a broken bone. Neglect is failure to provide basic needs, like physical and educational needs.

Who causes child abuse? Over 75% of child abuse is from the parents, and 10% from other relatives. 13% of abusers are non-caretakers, which leaves the last 2% are foster parents and other caretakers. Over 80% of all the child abuse perpetrators are under the age 40 (net wellness).

Not all abusers intentionally try to harm children. Many abusers have been victims of abuse themselves, and don’t know any other ways on how to parent. Drugs and alcohol play a big part in child abuse. These parents focus on where they can get more drugs instead of taking care of their children.

In Utah, many laws prohibit child abuse. Utah law requires any person who has reason to believe a child has been subjected to abuse to immediately notify the nearest office of Child Protection Services. The people who investigate these cases are the police or social workers. They report their results to lawyers and lawyers take the cases to court. Courts decide what happens to these cases.

In the Utah Code Book, many statutes and laws prohibit child abuse. These laws make it illegal to be a sexual predator on the internet, inflict injury on a child or domestic abuse in front of a child, not take care of the child (neglect), put the child in danger, kidnap a child, take a child without custody, cause sexual abuse such as rape or the performance of sex acts in front of the child, use child pornography, sell a child, use of tobacco by a child, or the possession of a weapon by a child (Utah Code Book). While in some cases these statutes do help somewhat stop child abuse I don’t think it is enough because of the high rates of abuse (according to the statistics), and what authorities say.

There are many ways we can stop child abuse. All states have a system to receive and respond to child abuse calls. Utah Juvenile court Judge Mary Noonan says if you are aware of child abuse, you can call 911, the quickest way for anyone. Second, she said you can call Child Protection Services (CPS) so they can send their trained professionals to help solve the problem, or you can tell a trusted adult.

Judge Noonan said the worst case she saw of child abuse was a baby born premature in the hospital because the mother was on drugs, and the baby had to spend all of her first year of life in the hospital while the mom was still addicted and out finding drugs.

I also asked Judge Noonan how her work helped to deal with child abuse. Judge Noonan tries to help the victims of child abuse because often children have gotten into trouble with the law, and she works with their parents. I asked Judge Noonan why did you decide to deal with child abuse, and she stated “I love kids”. She also said she tries to make children’s lives better, and loves her job.

All in all, there is nothing good about child abuse, and we need to prevent as much as we can. Children need parents and caretakers to set an example and not abuse them. It is always important to report child abuse. Then we can enforce the laws, reduce child abuse, and try to prevent child abuse in the near future.

Works Cited
"Child Abuse & Incest." Safe Horizon ::. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2012. <>.
"Child Abuse and Neglect." Child Abuse & Neglect: Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2012. <>.
"Child Abuse." Frequently Asked Questions on And Neglect. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2012. <>.
The Complete Health Facility Licensing Rules of the State of Utah. [Salt Lake City, Utah]: Dept., 2000. Print.
"Frequently Asked Questions." Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2012. <>.
Noonan, Mary. "Judge Noonan." Telephone interview. Sept.-Oct. 2012.
"Prevent Child Abuse America." Prevent Child Abuse America. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2012. <>.
"Student Resources." Judge Library. Off Judge Website, n.d. Web.

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