Conceptualization of Childhood sexual abuse and mental health psychological and sociological perspective

Conceptualization of Childhood sexual abuse and mental health psychological and sociological perspective

Conceptualization of Childhood sexual abuse and mental health psychological and sociological perspective

Universally defining child abuse is impossible. However as Desai (2010) pointed out, the dominant characteristics in any abuse is the central position of an adult that allows her or him to coerce or force a child into sexual activities. Child abuse includes masturbation, fondling the genitals of the child, digital penetration, oral genital contact and anal and vaginal intercourse. Child abuse can be physical and even non contact abuse such as voyeurism, exposure and pornography. On the other hand, mental health includes psychological, emotional and social well being. It affects how a person feels, think and act as they live daily. Furthermore, it helps in determination of how a person relates to others, handle stress and make choices (Kinnear, 1995).

On the psychological perspective, child abuse and mental health portrays behavior problems such as posttraumatic stress disorder and separation anxiety. The abused children undergo difficult time in their lives in addition to parental substance abuse. The aftermath of sexual abuse can form the start of a child’s negative behaviors and negative experiences. According to Sgroi (1982), sexual abuse to a child is a mental disaster as it can cause a child to become an irreversible, unforgettable, pain in the subconscious mind. Psychologically, mental illness can affect mood, thinking and behavior. MacFarlane et al (1986) observed mental health is important but the disorder can arise due to family history, history of sexual abuse, life experiences.

On the sociological perspective, Desai (2010) elaborates how social changes have affected child abuse problems. The children welfare and women’s movements has made the problem to rapidly rise in the public attention. Furthermore, patriarchal authority and socialization has resulted to the problems of mental health and child sexual abuse. The rising rate of divorce globally put the children at risk of these problems. However, Kinnear (1995) also suggest that it also assists the children to escape form intolerable and oppressive family situations. External controls erosion on sexual behavior and sexual revolution are also singled out as factors that have aggravated children sexual abuse and mental health.

Treatment models and intervention strategies currently used to address children sexual abuse and mental health.

Childs sexual abuse treatment is a complex process. One of the challenges is its occurrence in the larger intervention contexts. Treatment which forms part of intervention should handled with a team of professionals. A treatment approach as an intervention employed in a child sexual abuse should address the prerequisite and the contributing causes and the meet the treatment needs of the family and victim, individual, family, dyadic and group treatment interventions should be made available (Sgroi, 1982).

  1. Group therapy

It is the best treatment choice but usually offered concurrently with other treatment modalities. It is appropriate for siblings of victims, victims, mothers, adult survivors and the offenders. According to MacFarlane et al (1986), generic groups including victims parents, offenders and the survivors is effective and powerful for the parties involved.

Groups may be long term, time limited or open ended and dealing with specific issues such as sex education, relapse prevention, or future sexual abuse protection. Moreover, they may deal with many issues of wide range. Offenders and victims grouped may be brought together occasional for sessions. Furthermore, models consisting of concurrent children victims and their parents, where they join for activities from time to time are always productive (Desai, 2010).

  1. Individual treatment

It is suitable for offender, victim and the victims other as well as survivors and their siblings. Kinnear (1995) suggests that alliance building is the initial rule, moreover, trust on the therapist by the all parties and believing that change is desirable and possible. The parties  may possess different commitment levels to therapy, but most investment should be made on the victim and least on the offender.

  1. Dyadic treatment

Is applied to repair or enhance mother- daughter relationship damage, and the daughter-father relationship.

  1. Family therapy

Is the treatment process culmination and is not taken usually until reunification determination has been there and is in the best interest of the victim (Sgroi, 1982).

  1. Multiple therapists

It is very helpful because it is close to impossible to administer all those complex intervention series only by one individual. Two therapists are good if possible even if one does the group work and the other does dyadic, individual and family work. However, MacFarlane et al (1986) pointed out that there exist many reasons of involving many therapists apart from the logistics reasons. These include:

  1. Families that are sexually abusive are difficult to offer services to, and therefore the clinicians need each other. Such families are multi problematic and crisis hidden, making it hard for an individual to exert total responsibility.
  2. It recreates when you assign a different therapist to the offender and the victim. It enhances safety and privacy for the victim. These are the two elements of the victim that was offended by the offender.
  • Co therapy involving both female and male has therapeutic advantage considerably. It exposes the members of the family to role models of all the sexes. Moreover, co therapy enhances the clinician’s ability to affect change because of the allowed leverage, especially in group therapy.
  1. Lastly, some of the decisions that must be taken during treatment are complex and difficult, and mistakes can be devastating. Therefore, more than one head is better.

Two Empirical studies to support the effectiveness of these interventions

The Bureau international catholique de l’enfance (2001) did an empirical research to prove the effectiveness of dyadic therapy interventions. The program was done on 16 sexually abused victims aged 7-9 years. The children samples were gotten form Nebraska hospital. Investigation consisted of a therapy program for 3 months. From the results, 12 children were able to re unite with their families but 4 had difficulty given that the offenders were family members (Bureau international catholique de l’enfance, 2001).

Another study was done by Mars (2003) to test the effectiveness of group therapy on sexually abused children. In the study with her clinicians, they targeted the victims under the child welfare care aged between 10- 16 years, their siblings, family and the offenders. The therapy took 6 months. The therapy involved weekly counseling; inter group exchange, individual therapy. From the research, the approach showed 60 % success with the victims returning to normal life, family integration and cohesion (Mars, 2003).


Desai, M. (2010). A rights-based preventative approach for psychosocial well-being in     childhood. Dordrecht: Springer.

Kinnear, K. L. (1995). Childhood sexual abuse: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif:       ABC-CLIO.

Sgroi, S. M. (1982). Handbook of clinical intervention in child sexual abuse. Lexington, Mass:    Lexington Books.

MacFarlane, K., & Waterman, J. (1986). Sexual abuse of young children: Evaluation and             treatment. New York: Guilford Press.

Bureau international catholique de l’enfance. (January 01, 2001). Right to happiness: Prevention and intervention against sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Annual Report Bice.

Mars, J. (January 01, 2003). Sibling Abuse Trauma: Assessment and Intervention Strategies for   Children, Families, and Adults by Caffaro & Conn-Caffaro; – From Surviving to       Thriving: A Therapist’s Guide to Stage II Recovery for Survivors of Childhood Abuse by       Bratton; – “I Never Told Anyone This Before”: Managing the Initial Disclosure of Sexual     Abuse Re-Collections by Gasker; – Breaking the Silence: Group Therapy for Childhood           Sexual Abuse: A Practitioner’s Manual by Margolin. Criminal Justice Review, 28, 164-           165.

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Social Class Issues in Child Health

Social Class Issues in Child Health


Lynch & Kaplan (1997) defined children health as the extent to which children are enabled or are able to undergo development and realization of their potential, satisfy their needs, and capacity build themselves for them to successfully interact with the social, physical and biological environments. Furthermore, the health of children encompasses social, emotional, mental and physical wellbeing of children. The health disparities between populations or groups are called health inequalities (Argyle 1994). By getting to understand how economic, social and environmental conditions affect our behavior and our lifestyles, and in turn understanding how they affect our health, we can try to find out means of reducing the inequalities in health, as well as improving the well being and health of the overall population. Inequality in health care provision is a major influence on the children’s health. The paper will give a discussion on psychiatric disorders as a health issue, and further discuss on how inequality in provision may affect on the child and family wellbeing.

Health inequalities

According to Freeman & Stansfeld (2008), economic distress has large effects on indicators of health. Various explanations have been proposed to explain the health inequalities. The explanations can be classified into four categories; theory of social or natural selection, artifacts explanations, behavioral and cultural explanations and structuralism or materialist explanations.

Great Britain (2003) pointed out that the artifacts theory gives a suggestion that both health and class are artificial variable, and the existing relationship between them itself may be an artifact. The belief is that failure to reduce the difference between them, has been due to counterbalancing by the reduction in the size of the socio-economic groups themselves.

On the other hand Duncan & Brooks-Gunn (1997) suggested that the theory of social or natural selection gives a relegation to the occupational class to the dependent variable status, and health gets the greater causal significance degree. This explanation according to Duncan & Brooks-Gunn (1997) suggested that the social class one has the lowest premature mortality rate, because it consists of most robust and strongest women and men in the society, and social class five contains the weakest people. The explanation portrays the idea that poor health is associated with low economic reward of low social worth. However, all these factors do not result in high mortality.

The structuralists and the materialist explanations put more emphasis on economic role and the socio-structural associated factors in the health distribution. Meltzer (2000) observed that it is difficult to explain the premature mortality prevalent in lower socio- economic groups to subsistence poverty. Social class and the associated characteristics that belong to that class have implications of health. Because poverty is a concept that is relative, people categorized under low economic class may be disadvantage relatively in relation to the accident or illness risk, or to the factors that does promotion of healthy lifestyle.

The behavioral or cultural explanations of the health distribution as elaborated by Gunnell et al (2013), suggested that the result of lifestyles that are in cautious is due to unequal distribution of health in modern industrial society, where in people harm their children or themselves by their consumption of refined food and harmful commodities in excess. Furthermore, they under utilize the contraception and the preventive health care.

Hollingshead & Redlich (1998) implied that there exist sub cultural lifestyles that are rooted in level of education and personal characteristics that govern behavior. The culture of poverty as viewed by Holman (1978), states that the existence of any human in any environment involves social and biological adaptation process which gives rise to structure of behavior, ideas and norms elaboration. This poverty culture with time seems to assist individuals in coping with their environments. This view as observed by Holman (1978), firmly explains poor health to the people’s behavior, and by implication makes them responsible fully for the outcomes that are outward

Inequalities in child health

According to Brown & Harris (1978), the gap between the rich and the poor continue to widen globally. Within UK, Bruce & Hoff (1994) observed that the financial gap existing between the poor and the wealth continues to widen and the health difference between the social classes are also becoming greater. Social inequality and poverty have indirect and direct effect on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of children. It is of great importance to note that inequality and poverty are linked closely. Usser et al (2000) believed that inequality in income results to psychosocial stress that leads to health deterioration and even high rate of mortality with time.

However, the relation between life expectance and income inequality diminishing is no longer accepted universally. The children in communities that are deprived, where there exist under investment in physical and social infrastructure, have poor health and leads to high mortality to the lower socio- economic class population. Crawford & Prince (1999) found out that income inequality effects also spills over into the society, thus causing frustration, stress and disruptions of the family, which leads to crime rate increase, violence and homicide.

There are several threats, deficits and obstacles to health due to poverty. It is the poor populations who  often have stress when employed, are exposed to harmful and dangerous environments, depersonalizing and unrewarding work, who lack the amenities and necessities of life, and who are isolated from support and information because they do not form  part of the mainstream society. According to Great Britain (1999), one of the enduring and pervasive observations in public health is the inverse relation between risk of disease and socio economic level. It is known that the group that earns the lowest income has a higher likelihood of suffering risky health behaviors negative effects compared to the less poor people. These behaviors are not taken with intentions that are harmful, but may be termed as coping behaviors that provide relief and comfort from the stressful lives. Furthermore, lower socio- economic class people are exposed to more stressors by virtue of their circumstances in life, and with great stressors vulnerability and less resources to manage them, they are victimized doubly.

Brown, Susser, Jandorf  & Bromet  (2000) observed that poverty is associated with numerous long term problems, like school failure, increased mortality, poor health, substance misuse and crime among the children and the young people. The relationship between mortality and occupational class is evident from 1970s survey, which portrayed that the rate of mortality among the 20 to 64 years old men was almost twice for those of class v compared to those of class I. Furthermore, it was almost thrice as high in 1990s (Great Britain 2001).

Impact of poverty and inequality on children’s health

According to Kaplan et al (2011), childhood psychiatric disorders come about as a result of interplay between environmental and genetic factors. The link existing between childhood disorder and adverse experiences is complex and includes children’s reciprocal effects, because they are not passive experience recipients. Lynch & Kaplan (1997) observed that there is a large body mushrooming up relating to health and poverty indicating that  disruptive factors of demographics  combined with low income  and poor support from outside generate life crises and stress that put children at a great risk, and may catalyze childhood psychiatric disorders.

Argyle (1994) pointed out that poorest households children are three times likely to suffer from mental problems compared to the well off households. Social disadvantage and poverty are associated strongly with deficits in educational achievements and cognitive skills of children. Moreover, in the domain of behavior, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder are linked to family poverty. Brown & Harris (1978) adds that this is phenomenal among children facing economic stress persistently. The relationship between childhood disorder and poverty appeared to be more remarkable in boys compared to girls, and also seems to be of much strength in childhood in comparison to the adolescents. Bruce & Hoff (1994) observed that childhood disorder rates vary in communities and neighborhoods. For instance, in the UK, early studies suggested that disorders risks in the areas of the inner city were twice of those in small town areas.

Usser et al (2000) found out that conduct disorder is more common in children three to four times who reside in families that are socio-economically deprived with low income, or who resides in poor neighborhoods. Crawford & Prince (1999) suggested that the mechanisms that put poor children at psychiatric disorder risk may have to do basically with increased parental rates and characteristics of family associated with psychiatric disorder of a child, rather than disadvantage in economy itself. Persistent poverty with regard to the economic advantage should be distinguished from the current poverty. Great Britain. (1999) explained that persistent poverty predicts significantly internalizing symptoms like childhood behavioral disorders. There is a likelihood of poverty imposing stress on parents and this prevents informal social control family processes, which consequently increases harsh parenting risks, and reduces emotional availability of parents to meet the needs of their children.

Brown, Susser, Jandorf  & Bromet  (2000) examined the position of childhood socio-economic and adulthood cognitive function, and came to a conclusion that socio- economic position that is high during childhood and greater attainment in education are both associated with adulthood cognitive function, with fathers and mothers each making a contribution to the formative cognitive development of their offspring, and cognitive ability in later life.

Great Britain (2001) pointed out that threatening, erratic and harsh discipline, weak attachments between parent and a child, and lack of supervision mediate the poverty effects and other factors on delinquency. National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (2001) observed that one of the most import predictors of childhood delinquency in Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development is poverty. Furthermore, poverty was also associated to extreme delinquency and academic failure, when early childhood behavior and maternal education were controlled.

Freeman & Stansfeld (2008) also did a study on exposition of misuse and commonly used drugs on children, and came to a conclusion that drugs appeared to be more enshrined in children under poverty.

Description of psychiatric disorder and poverty

Great Britain (2003) observed that psychiatric disorders also show a powerful correlation of social- epidemiological apart from infectious diseases. Moreover, psychiatric disorders occur mostly in poorest areas in higher rates and cluster together and in most cases disintegrate in the communities of the inner city. Duncan & Brooks-Gunn (1997) elaborated that it is not a guarantee that absence of money will result to mental illness, but it is poverty that is conceded generally to both a consequence and a determinant of poor mental health.

The low economic status relationship and elevated prevalence and incidence of mental illness has become apparently been increasing. Meltzer (2000) pointed out a study body done in new haven 1958 and a few years later a study conducted in midtown Manhattan. From the studies, it was found that there existed a direct relationship between poverty experience and emotional disturbances of high rate, as well as use of treatment facilities and modes and differential availability by different classes. Gunnell et al (2013) further observed that it is an assumption of many peoples that socio- economic class gradient in relation to disease can be given an explanation by differences in access to healthcare.

The interrelatedness and complexity of factors such as employment, health and poverty makes it interesting to examine the prevailing relationship between them. Many epidemiological studies globally have shown inverse relationship between social class and mental illness. Psychiatric disorders according to Hollingshead et al (1998) have been shown consistently to be common among the lower social class people. The mental disorders can manifest inform of psychoses, suicide, mood disorders, alcohol, personality disorder and substance abuse.

According to Holman (1978), psychoses, a psychiatric disorder is mostly prevalent in both women and men of social class V. The relationship between psychoses and poverty is complex, and two hypotheses try to explain it-the social selection and social causation theories. Social causation model explains that the greater adversity of socio economic characteristics of the living conditions of the lower social class precipitates the vulnerability of psychosis to individuals. However, the model was challenged by Bruce & Hoff (1994) in a research which showed that the distribution of schizophrenic patients in the social class did not deviate from the population in general. The excess of status of the socio economic schizophrenic people was mainly attributed to people who have drifted from the social and occupational scale prior to the psychosis onset.

Mood disorder prevalence is associated with socio- economic status. Kaplan et al (2001) pointed out researches done in 1950s and 1960s which indicated that the depression prevalence was persistently high significantly in the population’s low socio economic status compared to other levels of socio economic status. This supported the hypothesis that poverty stress may be related to depression.

Lynch & Kaplan (1997) found out a positive relationship between the mood disorder vulnerability and socio economic status, with higher vulnerability rates among lower social educational achievement level as individuals. The hypothesis of social causation suggest that stress linked with lower social position, like social adversity exposure and lack of any resources to help in coping with the difficulties, might contribute to the mood disorder development, on the other hand, the hypothesis of the social selection suggest that individuals who are genetically predisposed fail to rise or drift down such position (Argyle 1994).

Statistics from the National Inquiry Into Suicide and Homicide as observed by Brown & Harris (1978), shows that mentally ill people who committed suicide either had long term illness or were unemployed. Moreover, people who attempted suicide in comparison to the general population were associated to social categories characterized by poverty and destabilization.

On the other hand, alcohol and substance abuse and misuse is high among the social class V and the unemployed group. Usser et al (2000) found out that high mortality rates related to alcohol are high in men of manual jobs than the non-manual jobs. Social class which is linked to social structural factors such as  disadvantage, poverty and social is a risk factor for mortality that are alcohol related.

According to Great Britain (1999), personality disorders traits such as antisocial personality is prevalent among lower socio economic people.


In conclusion, poverty and social inequality have adverse demonstrable effects on health. The National Health Service in UK has many responsibilities that are linked in relation to inequalities of health, which includes equity of access provision to health care which is effective. As Crawford & Prince (1999) pointed out, of the recommendations of the inquiry into heath inequalities by an independent study, was that as health impact assessment part, all policies with a likelihood of having  indirect or direct effect on health should be given evaluation in terms of their health inequalities impact. Formulation of these policies should be done in a manner that gives favor to the less well off people, and consequently reduce the inequalities. This way health provision to the children will be improved to serve all children in all social classes.


Lynch, J., & Kaplan, G. (1997) Understanding How Inequality in the Distribution of Income Affects Health. Journal of Health Psychology. 2, 297-314.

Argyle, M. (1994) The psychology of social class. London, Routledge.

Brown, G. W., & Harris, T. O. (1978) Social origins of depression: a study of psychiatric disorder in women. New York, Free Press.

Bruce Ml, & Hoff Ra. (1994) Social and physical health risk factors for first-onset major depressive disorder in a community sample. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 29, 165-71.

Usser Es, Jandorf L, & Bromet Ej. (2000) Social class of origin and cardinal symptoms of schizophrenic disorders over the early illness course. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 35, 53-60.

Crawford, M., & Prince, M. (1999) Increasing rates of suicide in young men in England during the 1980s: the importance of social context. Social Science & Medicine. 49, 1419-1423.

Great Britain. (1999) Saving lives: our healthier nation. London, Stationery Office.

National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness. (2001) Safety first: five-year report of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness. London, England, Dept. of Health Publications.

Brown As, Susser Es, Jandorf L, & Bromet Ej. (2000) Social class of origin and cardinal symptoms of schizophrenic disorders over the early illness course. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 35, 53-60.

Great Britain. (2001) Tackling health inequalities: consultation on a plan for delivery. London, Dept. of Health.

Freeman, H. L., & Stansfeld, S. A. (2008) The impact of the environment on psychiatric disorder. London, Routledge.

Great Britain. (2003) Tackling health inequalities: a programme for action. London, Dept. of Health.

Duncan, G. J., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1997) Consequences of growing up poor. New York, Russell Sage Foundation.

Meltzer, H. (2000) Mental health of children and adolescents in Great Britain. London, Stationery Office.

Gunnell, D. J., Peters, T. J., Kammerling, R. M., & Brooks, J. (N.D.) Relation between parasuicide, suicide, psychiatric admissions, and socioeconomic deprivation. BMJ Group. Retrieved on August 1, 2013 from

Hollingshead, A. D. B., & Redlich, F. C. (1998) Social class and mental illness; a community study. New York, Wiley.

Holman, R. (1978) Poverty: explanations of social deprivation. New York, St. Martin’s Press.

Kaplan Ga, Turrell G, Lynch Jw, Everson Sa, Helkala El, & Salonen Jt. (2001) Childhood socioeconomic position and cognitive function in adulthood. International Journal of Epidemiology. 30, 256-63.

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What Are the Causes and Consequences of Child Neglect and Implications for Social Work Practice

Causes and Consequences of Child Neglect

Child neglect according to McCoy & Keen (2009) is the most common form of child maltreatment. However, neglect of children has frequently gone unreported and has not been publicized or acknowledged as a child abuse (Stone & NSPCC, 1998). To some extent, it is recognizable why the different forms of violence against children have got more attention compared to child neglect. Abuse to the children often leaves visible scars and bruises, whereas neglect signs tend to be less visible. But neglect effects can be detrimental very much especially to the early brain development of children than sexual or sexual abuse (Crosson-Tower, 2010). The definition of neglect differs among different agencies, disciplines, countries and professional groups such as health care providers, court systems, and the child protective services. However, the definition of neglect shapes the responses since the objective of defining neglect is for child protection and to improve the children wellbeing, and not to blame the caregivers or the parents. The definitions help in the determination if a pattern of behavior or an incident qualifies as neglect, the safety of the child and its duration or seriousness.

Historically, it has been difficult to define neglect, and that has led to inconsistencies in research, practice and policies. With no consistent neglect definition, it is close to impossible to make comparisons of the research results. It is also this inconsistency that has led to variability in the manner in which cases of neglect are handled. The debate on neglect definition centers on the lack of consensus in addressing some of the questions highlighted by Scott et al (2014).
1. What are the associated minimum requirements with child caring?
2. What inaction or action by a caregiver or parent constitutes neglectful behavior?
3. Must the action or inaction of the caregiver or the parent be intentional?
4. What constitutes “inability or failure to provide” adequate clothing, food, protection and shelter?
5. What impact does the inaction or action have on the child’s well-being, safety and health?
6. Should “inability or failure” be included?
7. Is the inaction or action result of poverty instead of neglect?
In United Kingdom, Cawson & NSPCC (2000) defined neglect as a child abuse form which can cause damages that are life-long to the victims. Neglect is also the most common cause for subjecting children under child protection register or child protection plans in UK. A child is said to be neglected when the caregivers and the parents are unwilling or unable to satisfy the needs of the child (Stone & NSPCC, 1998). In the four nations of UK, the definitions of child neglect based on the guidance of the government are broadly similar. Cawson & NSPCC (2000) pointed out that according to Child protection guidance of England, child neglect us defined as the persistent failure to meet the basic psychological and physical needs of the child, likely to lead to the serious impairment of the health or development of the child. Similarly, Stone & NSPCC (1998) indicated that the Child Protection Committee (CPC) areas in Scotland use the formal neglect definition commonly used by the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland. There are many voluntary organizations  for children in UK such as NSPCC, Action for Children, Barnados, National Children’s Bureau whose definition of child neglect align with the states they operate or their organizations definitions.

Furthermore, Howe (2005) asserted that what is regarded neglect varies based on the development level and age of the child. This makes it difficult to sketch out a set of behaviors that are always considered neglect. For instance, leaving a young child for an hour unattended is considered neglect, but a teenager child is not. McCoy & Keen (2009) pointed out another issue in the definition of neglect whereby most definitions states that omissions in child care my results in “major harm” or “harm risk” to the child. These terms by law are not often defined leaving the local agencies of child care to interpret them. This results to inconsistency in responding to the challenged families in meeting their children’s needs.

Scott et al (2014) defined Child maltreatment as “Failure to act or any recent act on the part of the caregiver or parent, which leads to serious emotional or physical harm, death, exploitation or sexual abuse, or failure to act or an act which presents an imminent risk of a very serious harm.” Under this definition, a child means a person whose age is below 18 years and is not a minor who is emancipated. In child sexual abuse cases, a child is an individual who has not attained 18 years, or any other age as specified by the state’s child protection law in which the child lives (Howe, 2005). McCoy & Keen (2009) indicated that the neglect instances are categorized as mild, moderate or severe.
I. Mild neglect– for instance, failure by a parent to tie a child by a safety belt in a car. It might     need community-based intervention but not warrant CPS reporting
II. Moderate neglect– occurs when moderate harm has occurred to a child, or the community      interventions have failed. For instance, a child is inappropriately dressed consistently for            weather.
III. Severe neglect– it happens when long term or severe harm has been inflicted on the child.      For instance, asthmatic child who has not gotten appropriate medication for a very long period, and is admitted t the hospital frequently. In severe neglect, the legal systems and             the CPS should be involved.

Assessing the neglect severity along this continuum assist practitioners in assessing the weaknesses and the strengths of families and permits the possibility of provision of preventive services before the actual occurrence of neglect or neglect becoming severe. Cawson & NSPCC (2000) observed the existing controversy whether potential harm should be regarded as neglect. Despite the fact that there is difficulty in assessing potential harm as neglect, it can have physical as well as emotional consequences. For instance, the  difficulty in creating and maintaining relationships at present or later in their life.

Neglect seriousness is determined by how much risk of harm or harm there is to the child and how chronic the neglect has been. Crosson-Tower (2010) defined chronicity as patterns of omissions or the same acts that recur or extend over time. Since some behaviors are only considered neglect if only they frequently occur, it is significant to examine the behavior history instead of focusing on a particular incident.

Forms of Neglect
Despite the fact that definition of neglect can be hard or to detect compared to other child maltreatment forms, experts of child welfare have formed common neglect categories that include medical neglect, physical neglect, inadequate supervision, educational, emotional and environmental neglect, and newborn exposed or addicted to drugs.

1. Physical neglect
This is the most widely known form of neglect and includes;
a) Abandonment-this is child desertion with prior arrangement for his or her supervision or reasonable care. A child is usually considered to be abandoned when he is not picked up to two days
b) Expulsion-this is blatant refusal of child custody, such as indefinite or permanent child expulsion from home, with arranging adequately by others for his or her care or refusal to take custody of a child returned runaway.
c) Shutting-this is when a child is left in others custody repeatedly for weeks or days, may be due to the parent’s or caregiver’s unwillingness to maintain custody
d) Nutritional neglect– this is when a child is hungry for long time periods repeatedly or is undernourished, which sometimes can be evidenced by child’s poor growth
e) Clothing neglect– this is when a child lacks clothing that are appropriate, such as lacking appropriate clothes and shoes that are warm in the winter
f) Others forms of physical neglect– these include reckless disregard of safety and welfare of the child and inadequate hygiene. For instance, leaving a child unattended in the car, or driving with the child while intoxicated (Scott et al, 2014).

2. Medical neglect
This encompasses a guardian or a parent delay or denial in seeking healthcare needed for a child
a) Denial of health care– this is a failure to allow or provide care needed as recommended by a health care professional for impairment, medical condition, illness or physical injury.
b) Delay in health care-this is failure to seek appropriate or timely medical care for a health problem that is serious that any person reasonable would have recognized as requiring professional medical attention (Howe, 2005).
3. Inadequate supervision
a) Lack of appropriate supervision-this is not meeting the specified amount of time by law for child supervision. The time varies according to age, situation and development of a child. Accessibility by other adults, child maturity, frequency and duration of unsupervised time also are significant factors
b) Exposure to hazards– these includes safety hazards such as small objects, poisons, stairs, electrical wires and drug paraphernalia; smoking such as second hand smoking for asthmatic children or lung problems; weapons such as unlocked loaded guns kept in the house within children reach; unsanitary household conditions such as animal or human feces, rotting food, lack of clean water and insect infestation
c) Inappropriate caregivers-this when a child is left in the care of someone who should not be trusted to give child care or is unable, for example, known child abusers, young children, or substance abusers
d) Other inadequate supervision forms– leaving an appropriate caregiver a child without the consent or proper planning, leaving the child with an individual who is not supervising the child adequately, permitting a child to engage in harmful, illegal and risky behaviors (McCoy & Keen, 2009).

  1. Environmental neglect
    Most of the characteristics discussed stem from environmental neglect characterized by lack of neighborhood or environmental safety, resources and opportunities. Dangerous neighborhoods have harmful impacts on mental health, development and maltreatment of children (Scott et al, 2014).5. Emotional neglect
    This is the most difficult to assess and has more log lasting and severe consequences and includes; Inadequate affection or nurturing-the marked, persistent inattention to the requirements of the child for attention, emotional support and affection; Extreme or chronic spouse abuse, permitted drug abuse, and other maladaptive behaviors permitted such as assault, and chronic delinquency (Crosson-Tower, 2010).

    6. Educational neglect
    a) Chronic, permitted truancy-this is permitted habitual school absenteeism, and if the guardian or parent is informed, they do not intervene or even attempt
    b) Failure to enroll-this is failing to register, to home school, to enroll a child to school at the mandatory age, and even causing a child to miss from school for at least a month without valid reasons
    c) Inattention to needs of special education-failing to obtain or refusing to allow remedial education services that are recommended, or neglecting to follow through or obtain treatment for a diagnosed child with a learning disorder without reasonable cause (Howe, 2005).

    7. Newborns exposed or addicted to drugs
    These are newborns of women who used alcohol or abused drugs during their pregnancy, and this can put the children at risk of physical and mental disabilities. The identified newborn infants as affected by withdrawal symptoms or illegal substance abuse should be given safe care (McCoy & Keen, 2009).


Cawson, P., & National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. (2000). Child maltreatment in the United Kingdom: A study of the prevalence of child abuse and neglect. London: NSPCC.

Crosson-Tower, C. (2010). Understanding child abuse and neglect. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Howe, D. (2005). Child abuse and neglect: Attachment, development, and intervention. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

McCoy, M. L., & Keen, S. M. (2009). Child abuse and neglect. New York: Psychology Press.

Stone, B., & National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. (1998). Child neglect: Practicioners’ perspectives. London: NSPCC.

Scott, D. A., Child Family Community Australia, & Australian Institute of Family Studies. (2014). Understanding child neglect. Melbourne, Vic: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

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Civil Commitment of Sexual Offenders

Civil Commitment of Sexual Offenders


The decades of the nineteenth century ushered in an exceptional number of federal laws geared towards management of sexual offenders. In California, the most common and controversial laws, are the sexual, violent person laws, vigorous development of structured approaches and actuarial supplement of traditional clinical risk assessment and schemes of civil commitment to supplement criminal sentences for exhaustion of dangerous sex offenders. The controversial legislative initiatives for sexual offender management have introduced heated debates. However, the reliance of the legislative laws has become central in determining the controversy. The second wave of legislation is currently focused on the detailed articulation of risk assessment standards within the legal frameworks. The essay explores the forensic use of actuarial risk testimony in the context of sexual, violent person laws.

Sexually Dangerous Person Commitment Laws; Review of Articles

The law adopts the concept of mental illness civil commitment approach to evaluate and address recidivist sexual violence. Primarily, the law is aimed at convicted sex offenders who near completion of their jail sentences that might be a threat for future sexual misconduct. According to American Psychological Association, (2009) the confinement continues until the person exhibits that the individual does not meet the standards. These laws have been in place for thirteen years; however, a small portion of the individuals who are committed has met the release burden. Therefore, the committed population is growing at approximately 5 percent. The sexual person laws are, however, very controversial. Firstly, the laws are constitutionally and morally suspects. This is because they lockup people for numerous years to prevent future sexual offences. Secondly, the programs scarcely diverse funds from sexual violence prevention and mental health populations.

As outlined by Bauserman, (2002) the figures for risk assessment concerns; dangerousness is one of two required components of the constitution of civil commitment. This is the unambiguous justification for the sexual criminals. The preventive detection is ethically and legally problematic with excellent future knowledge; however, the risk assessment imperfection exuberates ethical and constitutional concerns since it highlights the likelihood that low-risk individuals and non-recidivists may be in the midst of long-term loss of liberty.

Basic Concepts of Risk Assessment and Predictions of Dangerousness

The drawbacks of risk assessment mention the limited ability to assess the future risks of harmful sexual behaviour either by the experts or otherwise. The limits stem from the fact that the future is indeterminable and inherent human judgment. Secondly, the limit of the legal framework has vague SVP commitments (Virginia, 2012). Further, the courts have failed to establish enforceable and reviewable standards instead, relying on operationalized terms such as likely. However, ARA addresses all the shortcomings which present the best offer of behavioral science. The approach also comes with transparency in risk assessment, thus allowing courts to enforce clear standards of risk assessment. This context uses trick instead of dangerousness. The risk addresses the presence of potential hazards and the occurrence probability for example; it is either the offender is dangerous or not dangerous. This technique is, therefore, continuous and dimensional as opposed to dangerousness which is dichotomous in nature (Rogers & Jackson, 2005). The use of risk outlines criminology with other healthcare disciplines and environmental protection. The four components of dangerousness mention the probability to harm, the magnitude of harm, the imminence of harm and the frequency of harm. The risk assessment incorporates three stages in the litigation process. First, is the admissibility of the judges, admission of the evidence, which is determined by the judges if the evidence is completely credited by the fact finder or the jury and that it satisfies the legal commitment standards. Thirdly is the assessment of testimony weight by the jury.

Clinical versus actuarial risk assessment

In the clinical method of risk assessment, the decision maker processes or combines the information in the head while in the actuarial assessment the human judges eliminated, and conclusions are established between the condition and the data (Bauserman, 2002). The clinical technique is ambiguous in the settings of the judicial system, however, a typical clinical evaluation examines the individual and reviews the gathered information, e.g., medical, court and institutional records and opinion is given with an expert. However, the actuarial risk assessment uses the actuarial scales using statistical analyses with known outcomes in the follow-up period. The statistical variables differentiate those who reoffended and those who did not reoffend in a given period. The variables form a scale which is tested with other offenders.

Rogers & Jackson, (2005) writes that when the scale has been applied on many offenders, the scores are expressed to estimate the probability of reoffending within a specific time frame. At this stage, a probabilistic table is developed based on experiences and range of scores for different time frames, for instance, 12, 60, or 80 months. The experience table is the focus of risk assessment, and the individual is assessed on scores combined according to the formula, and the result is compared in the table. It the yields a probability which represents the reference group that reoffended.


Scholars have attained important advances in forensic assessment over the past decade. Specialized approaches evidence, in the past, increased the sophistication of legal standards assessment, testing relationships and operationalizing relevant constructs. Sexual, violent persons determinations require specially clinical conditions, sexual violence, and impairment results of volition. In a nutshell, the mantle of experience must be achieved through research and painstaking analysis. The SVP demand the determinations of rigorous validated measures. 


American Psychological Association. (2009). Guidelines for child custody evaluations in family law proceedings. Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association.

Bauserman, R. (January 01, 2002). Child adjustment in joint-custody versus sole-custody arrangements: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Family Psychology : Jfp : Journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (division 43), 16, 1, 91-102.

Rogers, R., & Jackson, R. L. (2005). Sexually violent predators: The risky enterprise of risk assessment. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 33(4), 523-528

Virginia. (2012). Review of the civil commitment of sexually violent predators. Richmond: Commonwealth of Virginia.

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Collapse by Jared Diamond: Part Four

Collapse by Jared Diamond: Part Four

One of the main issues tackled in this part is the impact of globalization on the business world. He explains that globalization has made it possible for materials to move beyond borders. It has allowed for market expansion and development of unlikely continents, which possibly without the concept of globalization would have remained under-developed for a long time. However, the globalized system has brought several problems, op among them being that economies are now completely linked. The collapse of one economy, could eventually lead to collapse of several economies. For instance, an increase in the price of oil in the production regions could indeed cripple all economies. In addition, the newly developing countries are facing even more misuse and exploitation of their natural resources as they try to meet the demand of the other nations. Countries that were beautiful and had high deposits of natural resources and minerals, are diminishing the said resources faster than the same is being produced.

Diamond also shows concern that international trade has opened doors for increased and expansion of international crime. Criminals take advantage of countries whose laws are more lenient to expand their criminal empires. Drugs and human trafficking have expanded to other borders, with countries that are yet to catch up in terms of laws and regulations suffering the most.

The desire to become like other societies, Diamond points out in the first part of part four, is one of the reasons for their collapse. He shows how societies are often lured to participate in foreign trade, to bring their goods to the market and take aid from other countries for development. While these decisions seem ideal in the short run, they are disastrous in the long run. In the pursuit to meet the market needs and pay off the aid given to them, countries over-exploit their resources and soon run out of their natural resources.

However, it should not be assumed that countries are not aware of the problems they are failing as Diamond shows, they are indeed aware and attempt to find solutions t some of the problems in society. Unfortunately many of the solutions they seek are not sustainable.  In fact many of the solutions sought are only short term, and though they seem to be working during the short duration, failure is almost always guaranteed. It seems that the societies, fail to perceive some of the challenges and problems that come from the short term solutions.

[block]0[/block]The environment and the businesses

Diamond summarizes what he has explained in the last chapters, the collapse of society following misuse of environmental resources. In this part, though he focuses on the growth of large businesses and the impact they have had on the environment. For example, exploitation of oil reserves has become a booming business, with the oil companies focused on only one objective: to make more money in a short period. Competition drives the companies to mine even more, exploiting the resources without interest in the future generations. These extreme cases of harvesting oil using crude methods interfere with future production. In future, the access to oil will be very limited. This decrease in production of oil has caused a rise in the price of fossil fuel, a fundamental requirement globally. With few companies monopolizing the production and distribution of oil and with their desire to make as much profit as possible, the cost of oil will be so high that it might be affordable to the rest of the world.

The continued resource extraction, without concern for future generations will definitely become an issue in the future. Future generations may not have any resources to rely on. Diminishing forest resources, increased hard rock mining and increased extraction of sea food, will put the suture generation is businesses and large companies are not monitored.  This is in general agreement with many researchers, who believe that large multi-nationals have taken over and are running the economies and the future of natural reserves to the ground.  Governments and international bodies need to take their responsibility seriously holding these multi-nationals accountable for their exploitation. The resources should be used in such a way that they remain sustainable even though this may actually mean a decrease in the profits for the company.

[block]1[/block]The polder world

The model popular among the Dutch seems like the most ideal solution to control large companies. This model includes a three way relationship, between the employers’ representatives, the consumers and the government. All parties must agree on what steps should be taken and how the companies can proceed.  In the past, this model has been criticized heavily by politicians as the slowest decision making process, sometimes being blamed for stagnation. However, the rise of media and globalization becomes more apparent the polder model becomes easier and more necessary.

Economists have all agreed that bringing together all groups involved in the markets, educate and train each of them, to uphold their end of the bargain. When each of these facets cares for their environment, and takes responsibility for the part they have played in the damage, and participate actively in the decision making process.  Sustainable solutions can only be found when all members actively participate and uphold their end of the bargain. This means that all members of the society are working hard towards ensuring that the natural resources are well cared for. If the most serious problems in the world are not tackled together as a society, then civilized societies will be faced with imminent destruction and collapse. Diamond indicates that without sustainable solutions, the collapse and destruction of the world and its resources will come even sooner than we imagine.

The fourth part of Diamond’s collapse book; not only summarizes some of the problems that he considers to be ailing the world; it also provides hope. It can be thought of as the light at the end of the tunnel. The world is not completely doomed there are ways to find the right solutions which can be used to bring back the fruitfulness and raise up the societies within which we live in.  This part shows that despite the dismal elements that seems to be facing society, Diamond still has a sense of hope that the future can be saved.


Diamond, J. M. (2005). Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. New York: Viking.

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