Forms, Causes And Effects Of Child Physical Abuse In India
Child abuse is doing something or failing to do something that results in harm to the child or puts the child at the risk of doing harm. Child abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional. Neglect or not making provision for the needs of the child is also a form of abuse. In India and in other countries of the world, there has not been any type of understanding of the magnitude or trends of the problem. The increasing complexities of one’s life and the dramatic changes that have been brought about by the socio-economic transitions in India have contributed a major part in increasing the vulnerability of children to newer and various forms of abuse. Child abuse or mistreatment constitutes all forms of physical and emotional mistreatment, sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the health of the child, survival, progress or self-esteem in the framework of the relationship of responsibility, trust or power.
Child abuse has severe physical and psychological consequences which unfavourably affects the health and general welfare of the child. Most abused children experience larger emotional than physical harm. An abused child may become miserable, he or she may withdraw from the society, think of committing suicide or become violent. An older child may use drugs or alcohol, try to run away or abuse others. Patterns of abusive behaviour may have an effect upon the child physically and psychologically. Abused children are more likely to practice comprehensive nervousness, apprehension, unhappiness, absence, humiliation, guilt, suicidal and homicidal thoughts or get involved in criminal activities, promiscuity, and substance abuse.
In the last six months, i.e. between January 1,2019, and june 30, 2019, 24,212 cases of child abuse have been registered in India, which means 4000 case in each month, 130 in a day and one in every five month, 130 in a day and one in every five minutes. These are just six months given to the supreme court by the high courts.
Child Protection – In the present existence too, there have been practices of female foeticide and female infanticide. On the other hand, children who are born and survive experience from a number of violations. The world’s largest number of working children are in India. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported 39,827 cases of various crimes against children in 2018. Most subtle forms of violence against children such as, child marriage, economic exploitation, practices like the Devadasi tradition of dedicating young girls to Gods and Goddesses, and so forth are still prevalent and protection needs to be ensured against these practices. Physical and psychological punishments take place in the name of disciplining children and are culturally accepted. Forced evictions, displacement due to development projects, wars and conflicts, communal riots, natural disasters, all of these take their own toll on children. Children are also affected by HIV/AIDS. Even those who have remained within the protective zone, are at the risk of dropping out of it.
Child Participation – Children in most segments of the Indian society are traditionally and conventionally not accessed about the problems and decisions affecting their lives. In the family and household, the neighbourhood and wider community, in school or at the work place, and across the settings of social and cultural life, children’s viewpoints are mainly not given much importance. If they speak, they are usually not heard. The imposition of restrictive norms especially are put into practice for girl children. This restricts the children’s access to information and to choice, and often to the possibility of seeking assistance and support from the external environment.
As it has been stated above that India has a large child population and a great percentage of this population is subjected to abuse, exploitation and neglect. The information that is available about child abuse within the country is inadequate. Barring a few sporadic research studies, with limited scope, the attempt to understand different forms and magnitude of child abuse across the country has not been sufficient. The only information available annually is the crime data maintained by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The data that has been maintained by the NCRB shows, there is a record of only those crimes which can be registered under the IPC or other criminal Acts. Corporal punishment, use of children for creation of pornography, exposure and so forth are not reflected in NCRB data as they are not considered as offences under IPC. The study on child abuse is one of the largest studies in India and will be helpful in a number of ways. The study will contribute towards breaking the silence of child abuse within the country. It will inform about the nature and extent of child abuse in different settings and recommend immediate and appropriate responsive actions that can be undertaken by the families, community, government and civil society organisations for care and protection of children. The study will reinforce grounds for a separate legislation on child abuse and will assist in the preparation of suitable procedures, strategies and schemes to deal with the problem of child abuse.
The various forms of abuse of children have been stated as follows:
There are numerous causes of child abuse. Characteristics and circumstances of the abuser, the child and the family may be involved or contribute towards this act. The various causes have been stated as follows:
Public Awareness and Creating Supportive Communities – As it has been stated that there are certain individuals who are not aware and they abuse and harm young children, who are even below five years of age. In most cases, these individuals do not have any specific reasons of harming young children, but they commit this heinous act out of the feelings of animosity and hostility. In order to prevent child abuse, these individuals and the general public should be made aware that children should not be harmed in any manner. There are imposition of severe penalties upon the individuals, who abuse and harm young children. Communities should possess a kind and an amiable attitude towards the children, as when a child causes damage to someone’s property, he is usually abused and conflict takes place. In such cases, he should be explained about the consequences in a polite manner and one should not get angry at children.
Prevention Programs – Standards for the prevention programs need to be understood by all individuals. Research conducted on the works of experts and professionals, and resources on specific types of programs need to be taken into account. Many children experience insecure birth, and many do not survive. Many more struggle through childhoods of deprivation and risk, and are unsuccessful to reach their complete potential. As the poverty stricken immensely out-number the non-poverty stricken, a large majority of these births are amongst the deprived and the underprivileged sections of the population, where the parents cannot provide proper care or adequately sustain the living of their children. The situation of the new-born and the periods of infancy and early childhood are mainly serious and the morbidity and mortality rates continue to remain high.
Child abuse is a state of emotional, physical, economic and sexual maltreatment that is imposed upon an individual, who is below 18 years of age. It is stated as a globally relevant phenomenon. In India, there has not been an understanding of the magnitude of this problem. The various problems that the individuals have been experiencing in their daily lives have led to prevalence of child abuse. Child abuse has serious physical and psychological effects upon the health and mind-sets of the individuals. For the effective development of the country, it is imperative to ensure children are nurtured in a safe environment, they are provided education, proper nourishment and activities leading to their productive growth and development. It is the duty of the Government and community to address the concerns of care and protection to the children.
Several developed countries of the world have powerful child protection systems, predominantly motivated on mandatory reporting, documentation and examinations of affected children, and often taking intimidating actions. The problems of high level statements, reports and investigations are not only within the families, but also within the systems, which are required to increase their resources.
Chapman et al (2004) describes adverse childhood experience (ACE) as a traumatic experience in a person’s life occurring before the age of 18 which the person remembers as an adult. Some examples of ACEs are physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, alcoholism in the family, drug abuse in the family, depression or any other mental illness in the family, suicide in the family, incarceration of a family member, abuse of mother by her partner, abuse of father by his partner,...
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