According to ChildHelp.org, a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds. Child abuse can take many forms—from sexual abuse to refusal of medical treatment, from verbal abuse to neglect. No matter what types of abuse occur, the health effects, both physical and mental, can be long lasting.
Research paper topics could explore not only means of preventing child abuse, but also the health consequences for the abused, and other factors that impact the welfare of children.
Child abuse prevention
Many children grew up being warned of so-called “stranger danger” — that bad things could happen to them as the result of interacting with a stranger. Studies over the past two decades have discovered that the perceived threat of a stranger may have been overblown. A research paper could examine other myths or fallacies about child abuse, sexual abuse or other types of abuse that have been debunked or uncovered in recent years.
“The Hunt for Child Sex Abusers Is Happening in the Wrong Places; When It Comes to Child Abuse, Fear Everyone but the Stranger” by Abigail Jones for the July 3, 2015, issue of Newsweek, focused on changing the perception of who commits child abuse. Jones wrote, “Ninety percent of children who are sexually abused know their abuser. A 2000 study found that family members account for 34 percent of people who abuse juveniles, and acquaintances account for another 59 percent. Only 7 percent were strangers.”
Other types of abuse
Another type of child abuse that many young people experience is a refusal of medical treatment by their parents due to religious beliefs. Michael Stone posted, “Report: 34 States Allow Religious Exemptions From Child Abuse Laws” on August 12, 2016, for patheos.com with more on this. Stone wrote, “34 states and Washington D.C. offer some sort of legal shield for parents who refuse medical treatment for children on religious grounds.”
Sixteen states do have laws, however, that allow courts to order parents to let their children undergo medical treatment. This protects the child’s health, regardless of the parents’ religious beliefs. Christian Scientists refuse most medical treatments, while members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions. A research paper could examine the reasons why certain religions refuse medical treatment, including an analysis of their doctrine.
Long-term health effects
The horror of child abuse or sexual abuse cannot be underestimated, but the long-term health effects may be even greater than many have realized. New research indicates that this may particularly impact women who have been victims of different types of abuse when they were young.
“Abuse In Childhood Raises The Risk Of Early Death For Women” by Katherine Hobson for NPR on August 17, 2016, shared more on these new findings, which are not yet considered definitive and focused only on physical and emotional abuse, not sexual abuse. Hobson wrote, “But women who reported childhood emotional abuse were 22 percent more likely to die during the follow-up period than women who didn’t report abuse … The more types of abuse reported, the greater the risk of death during those 20 years.” Research paper topics could uncover more information on why only women experienced this long-term health effect as a result of child abuse or a paper could examine the different ways that types of abuse affect men and women later in life.
To report suspected abuse or neglect, contact your local child welfare agency. Depending on where you live, this agency might be called Department of Social Services, Children and Family Services or Human Welfare.
How can child abuse, including sexual abuse, and its devastating long-term health effects be prevented? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.