21 Proactive Ideas for Government to Prevent Child Abuse (and 14 Ways You Can Too)
Children’s Services and the Children’s Aid Society are the reactive, temporary “solution” to the abuse of children in North America. What good is it to finally remove an indelibly emotionally scarred child from a chaotic environment, only to shuffle that child off into the foster care system or worse, return the child to the same abusive environment? That happens more often than you might think. Why?
Child abusers have rights and a long history of them too. No kidding. They have legal rights that are quite powerful. When the abuser appears in court after completing a rehabilitation program, presents evidence from therapists that s/he is no longer a danger to children then that person returns home and the child is often returned not long after. The return of victims to dysfunctional households is also due to a shortage of foster homes. It’s a sad irony that many foster homes are no answer to the original home: which is the worst of two evils? Read The History of Child Abuse
In the article The History of Child Abuse by Lloyd deMause he describes the abuse and neglect of children from a psychological viewpoint:
...using children as what I have termed poison containers–receptacles into which adults project disowned parts of their psyches, so they can control these feelings in another body without danger to themselves.
In good parenting, the child uses the caretaker as a poison container, much as it earlier used the mother’s placenta as a poison container for cleansing its polluted blood. A good mother reacts with calming actions to the cries of a baby and helps it “detoxify² its dangerous emotions. But when an immature mother’s baby cries, she cannot stand the screaming, and strikes out at the child. As one battering mother put it, “I have never felt loved all my life. When the baby was born, I thought he would love me. When he cried, it meant he didn’t love me. So I hit him.”
There is another perhaps more powerful expanation for this ongoing societal problem: politics are not about the protection of children or families. They are about money-making, commercial enterprise, international relations and wars, and on and on. But politicians easily turn a blind eye towards this intimate social issue. To be sure socio-political change is incredibly slow. It takes time, years usually and sometimes decades to draft and re-write bills, eventally enacting them as laws. Even then certain laws are not adhered to for at least a generation since law enforcers aren’t trained to make them a priority.
As a result the laws that are currently in place deal with abuse in a reactive rather than a proactive manner. In other words first the abuse is established and proven, then Child Services steps in to try to undo that damage and offer tenuous protection at best. The manner in which society should work is to enact stricter laws thereby propogating social norms that discourage and generally prevent child abuse from happening in the first place. It’s not a perfect solution of course. The concept is far from 100% reliable but certainly it is worthy of consideration.
A lack of physical and emotional support from family and others in the community accounts for a significant number of child abuse cases. Consider a new, young, single mother left alone with her crying infant all day. If she is estranged from family or her family is not interested or unable in offering her physical relief from her child her frustration and distress is bound to increase. With that squalling child always present who is she likely to lash out at? Many of these young mothers do not want to harm their babies. They are as horrified as those of us reading about their crimes after the fact. But a lack of assistance and emotional support can directly result in child abuse. Watch video Never Shake a Baby Educational Video.
Proactive prevention sounds like a monumental task and it is. I don’t profess to have all the answers and the suggestions I have listed are simply that: suggestions. I realize a number of them may not be realistic and I don’t have the complete answer as to how to put these ideas into place but hey, it’s an effort to start people thinking at least. Incidentally when we consider government reform don’t even think about voting Progressive Conservative in Canada or Republican in America. They’re all about big business and nothing else. You’ll never win their support in proactive prevention of child abuse and law reformation.
- Mandatory parenting classes – every expectant mother and father ages 25 years and under should have to attend government sponsored parenting classes before or immediately after the arrival of their baby with an in-depth look at the incredible challenge a new baby brings into a family. A baby brings a considerable adjustment to a family. Discovering how mentally and physically exhausting nurturing a crying child can be is a genuine shock. Young parents do not fully understand what caring for another human being 24 hours a day and perhaps a better grasp of imminent change may prove helpful. Professional guest speakers such as The Red Cross and other agencies that educate the public about preventing child abuse should offer free services.
- Mandatory weekly visits from a public health nurse or social worker for the first 3 months of an infant’s life with written reports by these professionals forwarded to the family’s physician and kept on file within the public health offices.
- Community aftercare – associations and non-profit organizations where new parents may bring their infants, attend on their own, or simply telephone for advice especially during critical parenting moments.
- Government sponsored babysitting services – In Sweden daycare costs $1 a day for every family. No kidding. Our social services programs should include agencies where parents may leave their child at least twice a week at no expense or at least on a reasonable pay scale based on salary, for a number of hours or a complete day, in order to have a physical and mental break from their child.
- Crisis Lines and Volunteer Visitors – for emergencies when a parent is losing control and needs immediate help before tragedy strikes.
- Political Reform – we need a lot more funding for the agencies that have to intervene after the fact. The Children’s Aid Society of Simcoe County District of Central Western Ontario nearly closed in 2009 due to lack of funding and donations. That shouldn’t happen. There is simple not enough money going to the protection of children and assisting dysfunctional families. Raising taxes isn’t necessary. Appropriating existing taxes to the kinds of services I’ve listed above and any other proactive action is the answer.
- Legal Reformation – its more than time to trash outgrown child abuse laws and put in place a much tougher system to prevent child abuse from happening rather than simply enacting consequences on parents after the abuse has begun.
- Mandatory School programs for children from K – Grade 12 informing children of their rights to a loving, safe home, and how to get help if they are being abused.
- Ongoing mandatory drug testing – for known users registered with the police.
- Temporary boarding schools for children in potentially dangerous or dangerous homes. Foster care is not the answer. A school that is regulated by certified therapists and educators is much safer.
- Province-sponsored paternity leave – so women aren’t always the only parent permitted to remain home with a new baby. Watch video Paternity Leave in Sweden.
- Visible reminders about new laws and regulations protecting children – signs in bus depots, on billboards and other public areas. The more the better since it unconsciously reinforces the law and the message in people’s memory.
- Continual advertisements on television regarding child abuse reformed protection laws and information on agencies to assist parents who are in need of assistance in raising a child.
- Legal reformation concerning poverty-stricken communities. Typically people who live in poverty-stricken areas rely on subsidized housing and food banks. There is nothing wrong with this in terms of helping unfortunate people. The problem is poverty-stricken regions are rampant with drugs and prostitution, negative influences on young parents and their children. Certainly prostitutes and users have children. Their parenting skills are generally non-existent. Poverty is an extremely large and complex issue to address but it has to become a priority with governmental reform in order to reduce child abuse in significant numbers. (Picture above is Toronto’s inner city).
- Mandatory removal of infants from the homes of mothers under the age of 18 for adoption. There may be exceptions in this situation, for instance, if the young mother lives in a supportive, loving environment with caregivers who will help her to parent the child. Otherwise the child of the immature mother should be put up for adoption by government services. Since human rights will become an issue the adoption in some cases could be an open adoption.
- Free daycare facilities for young mothers attending college or university.
- Significantly subsidized postsecondary education for single mothers.
- Free birth control.
- Free abortion services.
- Free post-abortion group therapy for women needing emotional support.
- Free medical services post-abortion to prevent or treat medical complications.
Do some of these measures seem harsh? They are meant to: if you want to prevent rather than merely react to child abuse then you need to be tough. You’ve heard of the organization Tough Love Parenting . I don’t agree with some of their philosophies but it reflects the attitude we need to take when preventing abuse. Where abuse is concerned the gloves have to come off.
- Volunteer your time and money for programs in your community that support children and families, like parent support groups or day care centers.
- Become an active fundraiser for Children’s Services, parenting agencies, educational organizations etc.
- Offer to help new mothers you know by baby-sitting at no cost.
- Be as non-judgemental as you can. It’s tough to witness an abused child but we don’t know the entire situation. Many parents were raised in the same manner and truly don’t see their actions as abusive.
- Befriend a young parent. If you can keep an open mind without accusing a new parent who admits to abusing her or his baby you will be able to intervene a lot more than if you react with revulsion. Clearly you have to report the situation but you can also become a supportive partner and accompany that person to parenting classes and other educational support groups.
- Report abuse when you suspect it to Children’s Services or the police, even if you aren’t certain about it. You can do this anonymously.
- Befriend neighbourhood children. Call them by name, have brief conversations with them and treat them as people, not “little kids” you have no interest in.
- Become a Big Brother or Big Sister. Watch video Big Brothers Big Sisters Information video.
- Foster or adopt a child.
- Teach your own children about recognizing the signs of child abuse.
- Teach your children how to deal with being bullied and how not to become a bully.
- Assist schools in organizing anti-bullying campaigns.
- Establish a Child Abuse Prevention Month within your organization or community.
- Watch video 100 Ways to Prevent Child Abuse PCA-NJ 2010 Ad Journal
There are many terrible long term effects of abuse on children. Although this child’s reaction is extreme it is the direct result of child abuse during the first 19 months of her life. Watch video Child of Rage – The Documentary (Part I). Such personality disorders do tend to develop in many children as a result of child abuse and neglect. RAD (Reactive Attchment Disorder) is typical. The child cannot trust or love anyone because s/he has been betrayed and hurt all of their lives. Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial (Sociopathic) Personality Disorder are typical personality disorders that result from child abuse. They are lifelong disorders and by the time the child is into her/his mid-teens it is virtually impossible to undo this damage. Sadly, for many of these children when they become adults and have their own children the cycle begins again. Watch Powerpoint Presentation An Examination of a Controversial Mental Health Phenomenon: Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) **triggering**
Read Blog Children of Rage – Beth Thomas and Mary Bell
Watch video Dr Phil – Who’s Watching Your Kids May 13 2008 Part I
Watch video Shaken Baby Syndrome **explicit**
Read Child Abuse Prevention
Watch video Child abuse. What is child abuse. ideas to stop child abuse.
Watch video Today’s Family presents Prevent Child Abuse America
Watch video 6 Minutes that can Change your Child’s Life (And Yours!)
Watch Video Petarded
November 4, 2010 - Posted by lml01 | Politics | adoption, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, child abuse, child sexual abuse, daycare, Dissociative Identity Disorder, government reform, Politics, poverty, prevent, prevention, proactive, Progressive Conservative, RAD, reactive, reactive attachment disorder, Republican, social programs, subsidized housing, taxes, young mothers
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