According to Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, child abuse is a failure to act by parents and caretakers that result in physical and emotional harm, death, exploitation, and sexual abuse. Globally, neglect and child abuse are serious health problems that adversely impact children’s health, wellbeing, and opportunity. A report by Statista Research Department shows that by 2020 there were approximately 618 399 cases of child abuse in the United States. In 2020, approximately 150,673 kids between the ages of two to five were abused in the US, which is the common age of abused children (Statista Research Department, 2022). By 2020, there were 1713 deaths in the US due to child abuse and maltreatment (Statista Research Department, 2022). The alleged child abuse and neglect cases in Indianapolis have led to catastrophic injuries and deaths of children under one-year-old. A report from the Children’s Bureau of US Department of Health and Human Services shows that Indiana and its neighborhood have the highest number of child abuse. In 2017, there were 29,189 reported child abuse cases in Indianapolis (Mack, 2019). Every year, the rates of child abuse in Indiana have continued to grow. Financial problems, drug abuse, domestic violence, and alcohol abuse are leading to child abuse in Indiana.
Child abuse can be prevented. The state of Indiana uses several programs to prevent child abuse. First, Healthy Families Indiana (HFI) is a home visit program. The program promotes the health of children and families using services like parental education, access to healthcare, and child development. Notably, Healthy families Indiana works with local hospitals and the Department of Child Services. The program helps families to minimize neglect and child abuse, juvenile delinquency, and childhood health problems. Additionally, this program advocates for a safe environment for children and families. Another program is community partners for child safety (CPCS), which is used even by other states to strengthen families unity and support child services. The program is free, voluntary, and provides home-based services that connect families with their children. The primary goal of this program is to offer child abuse prevention services that are delivered in all regions of Indiana state. Department of Health in Indiana State also collaborates with DCS to provide infant survival kits and safe sleep education. Indiana State also uses other prevention strategies and programs like Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, a dedicated program in preventing neglect and child abuse. The program is dedicated to making the state of Indiana a better and safe place for children.
According to Finkelhor & Korbin (1988), human acts that result in child abuse are different. For example, when a mother burns a child’s finger because of stealing, the harm can be considered intentional. On the other hand, when a kid loses a finger while working for pennies in an overcrowded or unsafe factory, the manager had no intentions of harming the child cannot be considered child abuse. Child abuse has individual and societal roots, but some forms are a result of religious doctrines, government organizations, and social organizations. Violence against kids is one of the global health problems. This problem does not affect children’s physical and social-emotional development but influences the entire society (Seddighi et al.,2021). Children are subjected to physical violence in disasters, and family violence on children usually escalates due to psychological pressures from family members.
Zeenah et al. (2018) stated that child abuse is linked with negative impacts on socioemotional, cognitive, and neurobiological development. Although most children who have experienced neglect during early life have developed psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence, a greater percentage have not. Some of the contributing factors that lead to parental child abuse include physical abuse, relationship and marital stress, parent’s history of abuse, and social-economic status. For example, research shows that stressful relationship increases risks for child abuse. Additionally, parents who experience abuse in childhood are likely to abuse their children. Moreover, children from low socioeconomic status have high chances of experiencing child abuse and maltreatment.
To prevent and reduce cases of child abuse in the state of Indiana, parents and health professionals should provide information and guidance about clinical management, risk factors, and protective factors. Secondly, Indiana State should include more programs to educate parents and children on child abuse. The programs should also provide basic education to the affected victims. Specifically, the program should educate children about their rights to help them report the offender. I would also encourage leaders in Indiana and other surrounding states to remain supportive of their families and children. The working environments need to provide friendly working environments. Lastly, state and national lawmakers should support legislation that protects children and improves their lives.
Finkelhor, D., & Korbin, J. (1988). Child abuse as an international issue. Child Abuse & Neglect, 12(1), 3-23.
Mack, J. L., & The Indianapolis Star. (2019, April 1). Indiana has the second-highest child abuse rate in the nation, report says. IndyStar. https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2019/04/01/report-indiana-has-second-highest-child-abuse-rate-nation/3330020002/
Seddighi, H., Salmani, I., Javadi, M. H., & Seddighi, S. (2021). Child abuse in natural disasters and conflicts: a systematic review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 22(1), 176-185.
Statistica Research Department. (2022, February 2). Topic: Child abuse in the United States. Statista. https://www.statista.com/topics/5910/child-abuse-in-the-united-states/#topicHeader__wrapper
Zeanah, C. H., & Humphreys, K. L. (2018). Child abuse and neglect. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 57(9), 637-644.