Child Abuse and Protection

Abstract

This paper will explore child maltreatment and child protection as critical issues in the global healthcare system. Children from various parts of the world face numerous challenges that cause health problems in their immediate and future lives. The historical perspectives of child abuse and neglect will be discussed, and the contribution of nurses to these problems maintenance will be examined in the proposed paper.

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Then, it will analyze the published health disparities, which indicate that children from poor socio-economic areas receive fewer healthcare-related services regarding child abuse. The reasons for why kids from low-income countries and those from vulnerable parts of the population do not have access to efficient welfare services as compared to children from urban areas and high-income states will be discussed.

In addition, this paper will examine the formalized regulatory guidelines that are crucial in the management of the issue of maltreated children. Certain moral issues including respect, sympathy, and justice in child abuse will be discussed. The burden of chronic care will be also explained regarding the prevalence of child abuse and the outcomes that the ill-treatment has on them. Finally, the healthcare productivity and economic costs of managing the issue of child abuse will be explained since the increased costs have also contributed to the provision of improved modalities of care.

Keywords: child abuse, child protection

Introduction

Children across the world face different issues that cause them to have health problems due to their ignorance. It is within the jurisdiction of parents and caregivers to provide children with proper care until the time they can make appropriate decisions for themselves. However, it is not the case in various parts of the world. Children encounter diverse injustices, and significantly, the ones from low-income countries are mostly affected. Holtz (2016) states that children's empowerment through education, security, and improvement of their health status has been an important issue in global healthcare for a long time. Nonetheless, various problems that they have been facing continue to exist.

The World Health Organization (2016) states that the future society is dependent on the health of children and their vulnerability to various harmful conditions, which should be prevented. However, Wynd (2013) claims that children often have various problems, particularly child abuse, which involves maltreatment, as well as neglect; thus, the need for their protection emerges. This paper examines child abuse and protection as significant issues existing in the global healthcare environment and focuses on the historical perspectives, health inequalities, regulatory guidelines, moral issues, and burden of chronic care. Finally, it explains the healthcare productivity and the economic impact on the various governments globally.

Historical Perspectives on Child Abuse

Child maltreatment has existed for a long time, and despite the efforts made in curbing the vice, it continues to occur in other ways. Brown and Gallagher (2014, p. 37) ascertain that children in the United States used to labor in factories for over twelve hours each day 200 years ago. During that time, the issue was not relevant to the learning institutions of nursing; neither was it an important topic regarding patients’ teaching in hospitals. Boxall, Tomison, and Hulme (2014) explain that in the eighteenth century, there was a little demarcation between children and adults in Australia.

Little was done to treat the children in the correct way. It is in 1924 that the first declaration of the rights of a child was made, and the nursing care was mentioned among them (Boxall et al., 2014, p. 7). The issue became significant in the healthcare profession, and nurses were regarded as mandatory reporters. Gourvelou and Stavrianopoulos (2014) ascertain that nurses in both developed and developing countries play crucial roles in addressing the matters of child abuse through reporting, patients’ education, and treatment.

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Published Healthcare Disparities in Child Abuse and Protection

Since child abuse causes various problems that might influence their future negatively, the provision of child safety becomes a necessary task. However, disparities occur in different parts of the world regarding the protection of children from abuse. First, Drake et al. (2011) assert that the disparities emerge in developed countries such as the United States due to racial discrimination. Nurses who are charged with the responsibility of reporting child abuse do it mostly concerning white children cases as opposed to the black children's ones.

Second, Bywaters (2013) contends that in the United Kingdom, children in urban centers are more likely to receive nursing care as well as protection from abuse and get proper treatment instead of maltreatment as opposed to children in rural areas. Lastly, Wynd (2013) asserts that children from developed states receive more qualitative healthcare services regarding child abuse cases as opposed to kids from low-income countries. These published disparities regarding the issue are important since all the stakeholders involved in the global healthcare system can help in creating the policies that are able to foster improved medical and nursing services regarding child abuse globally.

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Formalized Regulatory Guidelines

Different countries have regulations regarding child protection from abuse. The guidelines of the Government of Western Australia (2015) require that healthcare providers must comprehend the risk factors of child abuse and neglect. They need to know the indicators concerning the issue and apply this knowledge when a child is being presented to the hospital. Then, after the encounter with a child, the healthcare providers are supposed to conduct the assessment of his/her status and collaborate with the parents as well as colleagues in implementing appropriate care.

Similarly, the United Nations Human Rights (2013) provides guidelines that cater to 193 member nations. These guidelines recognize all people below the age of 18 years as children. Then, they recommend that every child should receive necessary services concerning abuse regardless of his/her sex, religion, and race. The United Nations Human Rights (2013) further indicate that all member states should initiate essential measures including monitoring the areas where children live and the quality of care they receive to ensure that they are free from maltreatment.

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Moral Issues in Child Abuse and Protection

Nursing is a moral undertaking, and thus, nurses cannot avoid confronting moral problems in healthcare settings. Child abuse presents various moral aspects that nurses have to consider both in the educational sector and the healthcare environment. Powell, Fitzgerald, Taylor, and Graham (2012) argue that children face many problems and might not be willing to share information about them. Nurses have to be concerned with such sufferings by showing sympathy and intervening empathetically and appropriately.

Therefore, Johnstone (2016) contends that while undergoing training, nurses have to learn to be display respect, justice, and compassion. These elements are necessary for the application in healthcare settings when caring for children who have undergone various forms of maltreatment. In addition, nurses across the world have to be convinced that they respect the rights of the children when treating them and getting information from them or their guardians regarding any form of abuse. The respectful attitude towards the abused children can facilitate the sharing of data, which is necessary for reporting such cases.

Furthermore, when conducting nursing research, the investigators must respect the privacy of the children. Powell et al. (2012) assert that the settings where the investigations of child abuse cases start mostly include schools, homes, or public locations. Children are expected to give information while those who mistreat them are not far. Therefore, it is challenging to guarantee the privacy and confidentiality of the children during the research process. In this regard, nurses have to make sure that they respect the private lives of the children while collecting information from the secure places or using adults that children trust.

Finally, maltreated children globally should always get justice. Nurses should be at the forefront in facilitating it since they encounter the health problems that children undergo, which have the potential to lead to the other difficulties in their future lives. Consequently, nurses must ensure mandatory reporting of all cases that involve child abuse even though it might be morally difficult.

The Burden of Chronic Care

Child abuse has caused many problems in the lives of children and their families. Children experience physical harm, psychological problems, and various emotional issues. Crosson-Tower (2016) ascertains that physically, the child abuse results in issues ranging from minor injuries to severe brain damage cases. These symptoms make them seek nursing care services, which are not only a burden for the children and their families but also the healthcare system.

In Australia, the Department of Human Services (2016) recognizes that child abuse can cause self-esteem issues. This problem might establish the challenges in making a child communicate with other people freely. The Department of Human Services (2016) indicates that children who have been abused are more likely to abuse their own kids in later years, thus making the above-mentioned problem persist.

Finally, the issue of child abuse and neglect contributes to the occurrence of emotional problems. They can lead to mental health concerns that can continue to exist across the lifespan (Read & Bentall, 2012). These concerns cause strained relationships among people and develop society, in which people do not trust each other. Consequently, the burden that child abuse places on families and the healthcare system are significant considering that the consequences of the problem persist as a child grows.

Healthcare Productivity and Economic Costs

The efforts applied to address problems related to child abuse and neglect have caused the emergence of improvements in healthcare delivery. For instance, it has led to the fact that healthcare providers, particularly nurses, became regarded as the essential caregivers and mandatory reporters of any form of child abuse (Brown & Gallagher, 2014). The problem has also led to the opening of many health institutions that address the welfare of children worldwide.

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However, the efforts made to curb the vice of child abuse have resulted in significant economic costs. According to Gelles and Perlman (2012, p. 1), over 1million children experience child abuse every year only in the United States. Consequently, all the processes involved in managing the condition cost the state around $80 billion annually (Gelles & Perlman, 2012, p. 1). Akmatov (2011) argues that developing countries cannot meet these expenses, which makes them have poor approaches to managing the problem. Consequently, the prevalence of child abuse remains high in the developing countries in contrast with the developed ones.

Conclusion

Child abuse and neglect are some of the main issues, which are considered to be of great importance to the global healthcare system. Historically, children were subjected to various forms of maltreatment including forced labor, harsh corporal punishment, and sexual harassment. However, currently, in different countries, the guidelines to address these issues exist. The part of children across the world has better access to welfare services as compared to others. Children who live in urban areas or high-income countries are advantaged concerning child protection as opposed to ones from the vulnerable populations and low-income states.

What is more, the management of child abuse becomes a healthcare burden, which many countries are trying to bear. However, despite the increase in costs and persistence of child abuse, healthcare productivity regarding the protection of children from this dangerous problem has improved.

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