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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51442 Find in a Library
Title: CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT - THE MYTH OF CLASSLESSNESS
Journal: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF ORTHOPSYCHIATRY  Volume:48  Issue:4  Dated:(OCTOBER 1978)  Pages:608-617
Author(s): L H PELTON
Corporate Author: American Orthopsychiatric Assoc, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: American Orthopsychiatric Assoc, Inc
New York, NY 10011
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: EVIDENCE ASSOCIATING CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT WITH SOCIAL CLASS IS REVIEWED. REASONS WHY THE MYTH OF CLASSLESSNESS IS PROMULGATED AND THE DAMAGING EFFECTS OF THIS MYTH ARE EXAMINED.
Abstract: THE FIRST PORTION OF THE PAPER COUNTERS THE ARGUMENT THAT CHILD ABUSE OCCURS PROPORTIONALLY AMONG ALL SOCIAL CLASSES. EVERY NATIONAL SURVEY INDICATES A PREPONDERANCE OF REPORTED ABUSE CASES AMONG LOW-INCOME FAMILIES; PROFESSIONALS ATTRIBUTE THIS TO A SUPPOSEDLY HIGHER REPORTING OF ABUSE BY WELFARE AGENCIES THAN BY PRIVATE PHYSICIANS. TO COUNTER THIS ARGUMENT, TWO STUDIES OF CHILD DEATHS ARE CITED, ONE FROM PHILADELPHIA AND ONE FROM NEW YORK CITY. THESE STUDIES WERE CHOSEN BECAUSE THE DEATH OF A CHILD IS DIFFICULT TO HIDE AND SUSPICIOUS AND ACCIDENTAL DEATHS ARE USUALLY INVESTIGATED IN A MAJOR CITY. IN PHILADELPHIA 80 PERCENT OF THE PARENTS OF CHILDREN WHO DIED AS THE RESULT OF ABUSE HAD RECEIVED SOME FORM OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE; IN NEW YORK, 70 PERCENT HAD. NEARLY ALL OF THE CHILDREN WHO DIED AS THE RESULT OF MULTIPLE ABUSIVE INCIDENTS CAME FROM POOR FAMILIES. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE MYTH OF CLASSLESSNESS ENABLES BOTH POLITICIANS AND SOCIAL WORKERS TO INCREASE THE PRESTIGE OF THE PROBLEM AND GARNER SUPPORT FOR PROGRAMS. HOWEVER, THE MYTH OBSCURES THE REAL CAUSE OF CHILD ABUSE: THE TENSIONS ASSOCIATED WITH POVERTY. IT IS ALSO POINTED OUT THAT NEGLECT CASES ARE TWICE AS COMMON AS ABUSE CASES AND THAT MOST OF THESE CAN BE DIRECTLY TRACED TO POVERTY: LACK OF MONEY FOR FOOD, LACK OF CHILD CARE FOR MOTHERS WHO MUST WORK AND MUST LEAVE THEIR CHILDREN ALONE IN DANGEROUS SITUATIONS. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE MYTH OF CLASSLESSNESS KEEPS CHILD WELFARE AGENCIES FROM ATTEMPTING TO REMEDY THE REAL CAUSES OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT. REFERENCES ARE APPENDED. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Fatalities; Juvenile dependency and neglect; New York; Pennsylvania
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51442

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