Child Abuse as a Major Social Dilemma

Violence against children remains one of the major social challenges affecting many communities across the world today. Most of the victims find it hard to pursue their objectives in life. A proper knowledge or understanding of the risk factors for this kind of problem will empower many professionals in the fields of nursing and healthcare to support more individuals and their respective families. Child abuse can be perpetrated by different people, including strangers, caregivers, parents, romantic partners, peers, or relatives. Since most of the existing socio-economic conditions lead to sexual, emotional, and physical abuse against children, there is a need for nurses, medical practitioners, and community members to collaborate and establish coordinated efforts that have the potential to address this predicament and support all victims until they recover successfully. Such workers should also be prepared to identify signs of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, report them to relevant authorities, and work to improve children’s health. When these experts become part of this issue, chances are high they will offer adequate support and ensure that positive results are recorded promptly.

Personal Position: Defining and Describing Child Abuse and Violence

Physical violence can be described as the deliberate infliction of damage or injury to children by parents, strangers, or peers. This kind of malpractice results in poor physical health and slowed psychological development. Damage can be accidental depending on the nature of the existing circumstances (Sigad, Davidov, Lev-Wiesel, & Eisikovits, 2016). It is important to note that there are several potential causes or risk factors. Many authors consider ill-treatment as a social problem in many communities (Walker, Kepron, & Milroy, 2016). The outcome of violence or failure to provide basic needs to children is something that can result in trauma (Davidov, Sigad, Lev-Wiesel, & Eisikovits, 2016). The absence of proper social policies, protective measures, and support systems explains why many children are at risk of physical abuse. This means that all stakeholders should cooperate to meet the needs of these victims and offer timely support.

Sexual abuse is the involvement of a child in direct or indirect sexual acts with an adult to gain sexual satisfaction. As a result, the physical and mental health of the child is affected negatively. Deviations in behavior tend to appear, thereby impeding further social adaptation (Davidov et al., 2016). The primary cause of sexual abuse can be manifested in the insecurity of the child’s parents. Some authors have managed to identify several factors that can determine the development of life-saving systems. These include features of the parent-child relationship, existing family structure, and problems within the family (Davidov et al., 2016). Another one is the stress caused by the socio-economic environment of the affected family. Atencion et al. (2019) go further to indicate that sexual abuse can be non-consensual since many children are unable to resist or defend themselves. Young people’s inability to make appropriate decisions explain why they are vulnerable to different forms of exploitation. The emergence and increased use of social media is something that explains why sexual abuse against children continues to increase in different parts of the world.

Emotional or psychological violence is a one-time or chronic mental impact on a child triggered by a hostile or indifferent attitude and behaviors of parents or guardians. The possible outcome is that the child’s self-esteem is affected, thereby interfering with his or her developmental and socialization abilities (Walker et al., 2016). It is critical to understand that the primary reasons can vary depending on the situation. Walker et al. (2016) observed that around 25 percent of parents who had been abused as children subsequently committed violence against their young ones. The main reason for outlining the given issues is that underage individuals are unable to defend themselves against oppressors. Appropriate regulations should, therefore, be integrated to protect them against any form of physical harm.

Childhood violence is a problem that has been observed to have lifelong implications. For instance, some abusers use firearms and other weapons to kill or injure their victims (Walker et al., 2016). The majority of the children affected by this kind of abuse are unable to walk again or pursue their objectives. A study by Atencion et al. (2019) revealed that most of the victims will engage in risky behaviors, such as drug abuse, smoking, or sexual activities. Consequently, such individuals will record higher levels of depression, poor mental health, or suicidal thoughts (Davidov et al., 2016). Chances of dropping out of school increase significantly when young people go through painful experiences. Those who complete their studies might face numerous problems when trying to get or keep their jobs. Others will become irresponsible adults who cannot pursue their objectives diligently.

Existing social factors have continued to catalyze this kind of challenge in different regions. Atencion et al. (2019) indicate that increased poverty levels, high population density, and the presence of informal settlements contribute to increased levels of violence against children. At the society level, existing gender and social norms support the creation of a climate that normalizes or permits violence. Educational, economic, and social disparities continue to trigger violence in many communities. The inability to put in place adequate social protection measures is another factor that continues to contribute to this problem.

Child abuse will always have a weighty impact on the affected victims and their respective family members. Sigad et al. (2016) argue that more women tend to seek timely medical services from different professionals, including nurses and clinicians. These experts play a significant part or role in preventing any form of violence and providing adequate support to all victims. They can achieve this objective by interviewing children and their respective guardians whenever seeking medical services. They will go further to provide adequate information and education that can empower parents to stay vigilant and identify potential sources of abuse or threat. They will support the establishment of care or counseling centers for victims. These initiatives will make it possible for more individuals to confront any form of fear. Health professionals can also identify physical injuries that might be indicative of violence (Atencion et al., 2019). They will go further to provide the best treatment and become whistleblowers after getting substantial responses from their patients. This initiative will open new opportunities for legal proceedings against the perpetrators and ensure that those who are abused receive the right medical, emotional, and psychological support.


The violence against children debate has been ongoing for many years. Although some numerous examples and occurrences support the fact that abuse is a reality in many communities, some people still believe that this is not a major problem. For instance, Ellonen et al. (2019) indicate that several underdeveloped societies expect relatives and strangers to punish children who engage in unacceptable behaviors or activities. Although this practice might be informed by the need to improve discipline, some people end up injuring such individuals. This kind of approach is what has resulted in increased levels of abuse against young children (Davidov et al., 2016). In the recent past, the attention has been revolving around the demands of young girls. Consequently, boys have been ignored or left unsupported by existing programs. Many people still believe that young children should go through hardships if they are to be prepared or ready for their future lives.

In different regions, parents are the ones expected to take good care of their young ones and protect them against any form of violence. This requirement minimizes the chances of social intervention when abuse takes place within the family setting. Some people go further to argue that parents should not be reproached when they chose to punish their children for mistakes committed. The inability or failure to report cases of abuse is another reason why many individuals do not identify this as a major problem today (Sigad et al., 2016). This happens to be the case because they indicate that the statistics on the issue are unconvincing.

Within the nursing community, some experts argue that the ultimate role of practitioners is to provide evidence-based services to their patients. This means that such professionals should not be involved with issues to do with child abuse. Some argue go further to indicate that caregivers who are forced to train family and community members about the challenges of childhood violence will lack adequate time to continue providing exemplary medical services (Ellonen et al., 2019). These opinions and views undermine the effectiveness of most of the strategies implemented to deal with this social dilemma.


The argument that violence against children is not a major social problem is misleading or incapable of supporting any initiative aimed at addressing it. Those who reject this fact should understand that children are delicate individuals who require continuous attention, care, and empowerment. Such victims will be unable to report any form of abuse or injury since most of the perpetrators have devised ways to intimidate them. Walker et al. (2016) go further to acknowledge that many children tend to be tortured by those who are supposed to take good care of them, including parents, relatives, and teachers. Strangers, romantic partners, and peers continue to torture or maim underage children. There are also social frameworks and malpractices supported in many regions that worsen this problem. For instance, some societies only take good care of girls while ignoring the welfare of young boys.

The absence of effective social interventions is a major gap that increases the risk for child abuse. Ellonen et al. (2019) approximate that around 1 billion individuals below the age of 17 go through sexual, emotional, or physical abuse annually. Community members who are empowered to discipline children who engage in unacceptable behaviors will find a new opportunity to bully them. Within many school settings, repeated emotional trauma has become a major predicament that leaders should address immediately. In different families, children are abused by their caretakers, guardians, relatives, and neighbors. Some of the major forms of violence include sexual assault and physical torture (Davidov et al., 2016). Failure to consider these issues explain why numerous challenges continue to emerge, such as unintended teenage pregnancies, premature deaths, impaired nervous or brain functions, negative coping behaviors, and severe injuries.

Considering these facts and problems, it is appropriate for professionals in the field of nursing to be involved since their responsibilities revolve around the welfare of the people they serve. They should apply their competencies and ensure that more people can tackle this problem (Davidov et al., 2016). It is necessary to provide adequate support to those who have encountered various forms of violence and empower others to identify potential risk factors (Walker et al., 2016). The involvement of nurses is an evidence-based initiative that will make it possible for more people to tackle existing socio-economic factors, form partnerships to prevent abuse, and guide children to lead high-quality lives.


The above research paper has identified child abuse as a major social dilemma affecting the experiences and life outcomes of many young individuals in every country. Violence is usually physical, sexual, or emotional and it can result in unwanted pregnancy, death, injury, depression, and mental breakdown. Existing social and economic factors continue to support the nature and development of this problem. In conclusion, healthcare professionals must examine possible signs of child abuse carefully and offer adequate education and support to empower more members of the community to deal with this problem. Such a move will make it possible for the greatest number of children to lead high-quality lives and achieve their maximum potential.


Atencion, B. C. S., Alingalan, A. F., Oducado, R. M. F., Cordova, J. D. N., Dumaguing, M. C. M., & Suaboksan, M. T. T. (2019). Factors associated with intention to report child abuse among district hospital nurses in Iloilo, Philippines. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 12(1), 210-217.

Davidov, J., Sigad, L. I., Lev-Wiesel, R., & Eisikovits, Z. (2016). Cross-disciplinary craftsmanship: The case of child abuse work. Qualitative Social Work, 16(5), 717-733. Web.

Ellonen, N., Rantanen, H., Lepistö, S., Helminen, M., & Paavilainen, E. (2019). The use of the brief child abuse potential inventory in the general population in Finland. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 37(2), 128-134. Web.

Sigad, L. I., Davidov, J., Lev-Wiesel, R., & Eisikovits, Z. (2016). Toxic knowledge: Self-alteration through child abuse work. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31(3), 481-499. Web.

Walker, A., Kepron, C., & Milroy, M. (2016). Are there hallmarks of child abuse? I. osseous injuries. Academic Forensic Pathology, 6(4), 568-590. Web.

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