Of late there has been an increasing number of child abuse cases in the mass media. While it is disturbing to note that child abuse is still rampant, it is also heartening that more and more people are coming forward to report child abuses. This shows that public awareness of child abuse is on the rise.
Child abuse is indeed a social evil that has existed for a long time. It is prevalent everywhere in underdeveloped as well as developed countries and in rural as well as urban areas. The rate of child abuse is probably higher in families besieged with financial or marital problems. If one or both parents are compulsive gamblers, drunkards or drug addicts, it is highly probable that the children will be abused by them. Child abuse is not confined to parents. Sometimes, the children relatives who have been entrusted to look after them are the abusers.
There are many forms of child abuse. Sometimes, the neglected child may be starved for days on end and become undernourished. Worse still, the child may be subjected to continuous beatings. Sometimes, the child battered so badly that he becomes physically deformed. What is of greater concern is the long-term psychological effect of child abuse. The effected child may become withdrawn, reserved, nervous and submissive.
The State Welfare Services Department has been doing a splendid job in fighting child abuse. Not only does it look after the abused child, it also provides counseling service to the child’s parents. The department is always on the alert over reports of child abuse and it will always take prompt action. However it depends very much on the public for information. It is the public who will know whether their immediate neighbors have ill-treated or abused their own children. Though it may seem unpleasant to interfere in other people’s affairs, it is quite justified to report any case of child abuse for the sake of the victim who is too young to defend himself.