Child maltreatment or abuse cases are arguably on the rise across the globe. Acts of abuse include physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. Neglect is also considered an act of child maltreatment. While there is no definite set of factors that facilitate child abuse, it is projected that elements such as extreme cultural norms, gender discrimination, and alcoholism may make a parent to mistreat their children. Child abuse has far-reaching repercussions on both the child and the abusers. The child has to endure direct negative impacts, including emotional, psychological and physical torture (Lai, 2016) while the abusers may be jailed for the act. Despite the rapid rise in the number of cases of child abuse and the consequential suffering on the parties involved, detection and management of child abuse remains at its lowest; authorities are yet to make any significant strides in stopping this looming menace.
Child maltreatment overlies a wide range of issues from all the spheres of life. Chong (2016) notes that personal frustration is one such social issue after a Filipino maid got jailed for hitting the face and feet of his employers baby. The accused admitted that she was taking out her marital frustrations on the baby, thus, hit the defenseless victim before seeking for forgiveness at the court. Economic hardships may also result in child abuse. The New Paper (2012a) documents the case of a boy who remained completely disfigured following a two-year long maltreatment involving his grandaunt. After the disappearance of the mother, the 10-year old moved in with his aunt who assaulted him for stealing food and playing with gas stoves (The New Paper, 2012b, pp. 1). In a separate 2010 instance, Little Natalie died after a vicious punch by her father for chewing on his cigarettes. Similarly, young Shaurya was starved by the guardians who also inflicted various injuries on her (The New Paper, 2012b). Extreme societal norms and beliefs also contribute to acts of child abuse. An 11-year old was thrown to the storeroom, away from the family, where she ate, studied, and slept after her parents considered a jinx that caused their troubles (Tan, 2016).
There is a body of evidence detailing various measures against child abuse. Agencies like the Child Protective Service (CPS) have been instituted to investigate and onset the prosecution of child abuse offenders (Tan, 2016; Rong, 2016). The agency also has the power to take the child from the family if they deem the acts threatening to the life or development of the child (Tan, 2016). Other ministries like that of Home Affairs and Law have also urged the public to report cases of child abuse for further action.
In the full glare of the seriousness of these cases, available measures are not as stringent as they should be if the vice is to be eliminated. For instance, the Child Protective Service (CPS) only investigated 551 of the 2,022 cases reported in the year 2015 (Tan, 2016). The difference implies laxity and lack of commitment to eradicating child abuse. Most of these cases, as the Tan reports, included serious injuries and molestations. While the CPS has the authority of completely removing the child from the family, that has never happened since the year 2012 to 2016 despite the growing number of child abuse cases that the agency handles. The near similar measure involved the CPS taking a child under foster care for only two months in the year 2016 when her father repeatedly beat her (Rong, 2016). Normally, two months would be insufficient to counsel the abusers and restore their attitudes towards the victims. It suffices to insinuate that the abuser may resume beating the child after being repatriated to the family. In some cases, when the abuser has been prosecuted for abusing a child, they may get extremely livid and resort to killing the child when they meet again, as they deem the child to be the source of their woes. On a similar note, Chong (2016) reports that a made only got two months in jail for hitting a defenseless baby. The jail term is too laxed and lenient to send warning shocks to anyone similar future offenders. Mr. Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Law laments that we need to see whether the current legal framework is adequate for such cases (Rong, 2016). This exemplifies the lack of strict policies to prosecute cases of child abuse.
The permissive legal system calls for improvements to the existing measures. One of the seemingly commensurate punishments for such cases includes at least 12 years jail term with several strokes of cane as in the case of Azhar (The New Paper, 2012b). For instance, a two-month jail term encourages instead of discouraging such atrocious acts against defenseless children. In the same vein, the CPS should be given an absolute mandate and power to take the victims away from their abusers for as long as the situation can normalize. In extreme cases, the abuser should be barred from accessing the child forever. Finally, merely urging people to report child abuse cases may not be enough. Instead, the body should have foot soldiers on the ground who investigate and identify such cases. In conclusion, the much still need to be done in terms of measures against child abuse to curb the rise.
ReferencesTan, T. (2016, April 24). More child abuse cases being investigated. The Sunday Times.
Rong, S.Y. (2016, July 10). Playing a part in stopping child abuse. The New Paper.
Chong, E. (2016, October 27). Maid gets two months jail for hitting baby. The Straits Times.
Lai, L. (2016, November 29). Trauma of seeing abuse at home. The Straits Times.
The New Paper. (2012b, Aug 06). Monster parents attacked and starved son. The New Paper.
The New Paper. (2012a, October 27). Past cases of child abuse. The New Paper.
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