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Melissa Wall

Maltreatment of Children
The maltreatment of children is becoming all too common; its plastered all over
newspapers, watching the news on the television, magazines, and the Internet. Last year a
little girl, age of three, was raped and killed due to head force trauma by her Mothers
boyfriend (Andersen, March 2015). In Colorado, boys of the ages of 2, 4, 5 and 6 were
held in a room of an apartment covered in urine and feces of human and cats with
deceased animals near them. When found they couldnt speak or even recognize what an
apple was (Steffen, December 2014). It even hits close to home here in the Beehive state
when several years ago the death of four year old Ethan Stacy. Who suffered unspeakable
amounts of torture from his Mother and stepfather before his life was tragically taken.
We know that the abuse is happening but are we not responding to it because 1) we do
not think that is can happen in our area or that 2) we are becoming numb to it because it
is happening more and more.
There are four major types of maltreatment and they are: physical, neglect, sexual,
and emotional abuse. In the US there were 3.4 million referrals of maltreatment in the
year of 2012 and that 686,000 children were victims; most of those children were
suffering from neglect (78%), physical abuse (18%), sexual abuse (9%), and 11 percent
suffered from emotional, threatened, parents drug or alcohol abuse, or lack of
supervision. Children under the one year old are at a higher risk of falling victim to
maltreat than any other age bracket. Females are likely to fall victim than males; AfricanAmerican children the most likely to be victims (CDC, Maltreatment). More than five

children die daily from child abuse and of those victims 80 percent are under the age of
four. It is very hard to ignore those numbers especially when one in every four children
are victims are abused.
We often see effects of the abuse after it happens but what are the long-term
effects? Not only are the children affected but the effects of the abuse go into their
adulthood. Research has shown that abuse has the following consequences on the victim:
psychiatric disorders (depression, anxiety, substance abuse, aggression, shame or
cognitive impairments) and suicidal behavior. There is also evidence that abuse during
childhood can lead to the following in adulthood: ischemic heart disease, cancer, chronic
lung disease, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. These children also have the
higher risk of adopting smoking, drinking, poor diet, sexual promiscuity, and lack of
exercise later in life. Eighty percent of children who were abused turn the age of twentyone will have at least one psychological disorder. Not only does the abuse affect the
victim but cost the US 124 billion dollars in 2008. This includes providing health care for
the victim of abuse and later housing (case workers with those children) but also goes
into the prosecuting the offender, the education system and whatever future needs that
child may require as an adult (CDC, World Data pg. 13). Sadly these children are victims
of anothers hand and they suffer the consequences. They didnt deserve what was
handed to them; they are innocent and only being guilty of being brought into a horrible
In the article about Ethan Stacy they mentioned that if the stepfather had a
background check before Ethan was sent to his mother his death could have been
prevented. Either having the visit being watched by state officials or it may have never

happened at all. Why is it that after the death of a child we start to think that there might
be problem? Ethans father did not want to send Ethan to his Mother because he felt it
was unsafe but the court ordered him. Should have the Judge looked further into why he
didnt want to? Maybe interview the mother or do background checks on the mother and
her husband. It would be a lot easier for those who are at risk to be a perpetrator of abuse
to make them infertile so that they can never harm an innocent child of their own but then
would this really fix the problem. Maybe for now we need to take it further than just
removing children from risky situations but teach the parents from the beginning on how
to act. Teach them from junior high how to be a proper parent up till high school; here we
learn of health and child development-why not start teaching them how to be a parent?
Also, start requiring parents to be going to classes on proper parenting versus improper
parenting. As for right now we need to help those kids and families to get out of those
situations quicker and get the children the help that they might need. Let us make their
future brighter than what their past was.

Works Cited
Andersen, Kendi. Timefreepress.com. 03/12/2015
CDC; Child Maltreatment.
CDC World Data; file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/World%20Data%20CDC.pdf
Steffen, Jordan. Denver Post; 12/30/2014.