Victims Likely to Engage in Criminality Later in Life?

Are victims of child abuse more likely to engage in criminality later in life?
Victims of child abuse are likely to experience a wide variety of negative outcomes throughout their lives. Involvement in criminal activity is one. For children, the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being found that children placed in out-of-home care due to abuse or neglect tended to score lower than the general population on measures of cognitive capacity, language development, and academic achievement (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2003).

Other studies have found abuse and neglected children to be at least 25% more likely to experience problems such as delinquency, teen pregnancy, low academic achievement, drug use, and mental health problems.

In one long-term study of young adults who had been abused, as many as 80% met the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21. These young adults exhibited many problems, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicide attempts (Silverman, Reinherz, & Giaconia, 1996). Other psychological and emotional conditions associated with abuse and neglect include panic disorder, dissociative disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and reactive attachment disorder (Teicher, 2000).

The challenges that victims experience continue as they move into adulthood. The U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics reports the following adult statistics for 2002:

• 31% of jail inmates had grown up with a parent or guardian who abused alcohol or drugs.
• About 12% had lived in a foster home or institution.
• 46% had a family member who had been incarcerated.
• More than 50% of the women in jail said they had been physically or sexually abused in the past, and more than 10% of the men.
• The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that nearly two-thirds of all adults entering treatment for drug abuse report being victims of child abuse or neglect.

Is there any evidence linking alcohol or other drug use to child maltreatment?
There is significant research that demonstrates this connection. Research has shown that among confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect, 40% involved the use of alcohol or other drugs (Journal of American Medical Association, and Children of Alcoholics). Substance abuse does not cause child abuse and neglect, but it is a distinct factor in its occurrence.

Can we prevent child abuse and neglect?
Yes, we can make a difference. There are many types of prevention programs across the country. Research has shown that effective programs share similar elements, such as working with families early and on a long-term, intensive basis. Effective programs offer assistance with family problems, refer families to outside supports when needed, and have a structured framework for staff in working with families. These elements are found in The National Exchange Club Parent Aide program, which is offered at all Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Centers across the country.

What is Child Abuse?

What is child abuse?
Child abuse can include any behavior, action, or omission by an adult that causes or allows harm to come to a child. Abuse can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and/or neglect. Individual states and other government agencies have specific legal definitions that are used to substantiate reports of alleged maltreatment.

What does it mean to “substantiate” an allegation of abuse?
The term “substantiated” means that an allegation of maltreatment was confirmed according to the level of evidence required by the state law or state policy. The term “indicated” is sometimes used by investigators when there is insufficient evidence to substantiate a case under state law or policy, but there is reason to suspect that maltreatment occurred or that there is risk of future maltreatment.

What are the most common types of maltreatment?
The majority (59%) of victims suffered from neglect. Child Protective Services investigations determine that 10.8 % of victims suffered from physical abuse, 7.6% suffered from sexual abuse,4.2% suffered from emotional maltreatment, less than 1% experienced medical neglect, and 13.1% suffered multiple forms of maltreatment. In addition, 4.1 percent of victims experienced such “other” types of maltreatment as “abandonment,” “threats of harm to the child,” or “congenital drug addiction.” States may consider any condition that does not fall into one of the main categories — e.g. physical abuse, neglect, or emotional maltreatment — as “other.” These maltreatment type percentages total more than 100 percent because children who were victims of more than one type of maltreatment were counted for each incident. Although the percentage of emotional maltreatment appears low, this statistic may be misleading. The Child Welfare Information Gateway states, “Emotional abuse is often difficult to prove and, therefore, CPS may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm to the child. Emotional abuse is almost always present when other forms [of abuse] are identified”.

How many children die each year from child abuse?
During 2011, an estimated 1570 children died from abuse or neglect. Of those, 75.7% were younger than four years old. This number may not accurately reflect the actual number of fatalities due to abuse and neglect. Many researchers and practitioners believe child fatalities due to abuse and neglect are still underreported. Studies in Colorado and North Carolina have estimated that as many as 50 to 60 percent of child deaths resulting from abuse or neglect are not recorded as such (Crume, DiGuiseppi, Byers, Sirotnak, Garrett, 2002; Herman-Giddens, Brown, Verbiest, Carlson, Hooten, et al., 1999).

Who abuses and neglects children?
In 2011, exactly 81.2 percent of perpetrators of child maltreatment were parents, and another 12.8% were relatives or caregivers of the child. Caregivers includes foster parents, child daycare providers, and legal guardians.

Mothers comprised a larger percentage of perpetrators, 36.8% compared to fathers, 19%, however 18.9% of cases indicated both parents were involved. Nearly one-half of all victims were White (43.9%), 21.5% were African-American, and 22.1% were Hispanic.

Child maltreatment occurs across socio-economic, religious, cultural, racial, and ethnic groups.

What makes people abuse children?
It is difficult to imagine that any person would intentionally inflict harm on a child. Many times, physical abuse can result when the physical punishment is inappropriate for the child’s age, and parents have an unrealistic expectation of their child’s behavior. A parent feeling undue stress may also react inappropriately. Most parents want to be good parents but sometimes lose control. Child abuse can be a symptom that parents are having difficulty coping with other situations, such as those involving finances, work, or housing.

A significant factor in many situations relates to a parent’s inexperience with or lack of understanding of typical child development. Many childhood behaviors can be frustrating but are normal. Lack of understanding about normal behaviors may lead a parent to react in a punitive manner. Parents with their own negative childhood experiences may not have healthy role models to follow.

Other stress factors in the home may increase the risk of abuse or neglect, also. These can include drug or alcohol abuse, family crises, marital difficulties, domestic violence, depression, and/or mental illness.

Are victims of child abuse more likely to engage in criminality later in life?
Victims of child abuse are likely to experience a wide variety of negative outcomes throughout their lives. Involvement in criminal activity is one. For children, the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being found that children placed in out-of-home care due to abuse or neglect tended to score lower than the general population on measures of cognitive capacity, language development, and academic achievement (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2003).

Other studies have found abuse and neglected children to be at least 25% more likely to experience problems such as delinquency, teen pregnancy, low academic achievement, drug use, and mental health problems.

In one long-term study of young adults who had been abused, as many as 80% met the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21. These young adults exhibited many problems, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicide attempts (Silverman, Reinherz, & Giaconia, 1996). Other psychological and emotional conditions associated with abuse and neglect include panic disorder, dissociative disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and reactive attachment disorder (Teicher, 2000).

Parent’s Corner – Screaming Parents

3-27-17

 

Dear Sue Ellen,

 

“I have a 10-year-old son that plays baseball.  He loves it, but there is a Dad on our team that screams at his kid during practice and games.  Last week that kid messed up the play, and his Dad loudly made fun of him.   It upset all of the kids on the team and everyone felt bad for the little boy.  I really wanted to punch that Dad, but I know better.  What can I do?  Don’t tell me to talk to the coach because I have already done that!”

Frustrated Mom

 

 

Dear Frustrated Mom,

 

Wow!  He sounds like the same guy that screamed during my son’s games thirty years ago. Screaming parents definitely need help.  But how do you help someone that doesn’t see a problem?  When a parent is braying like a donkey during their child’s ball games, do they think they are being clever, or using good parenting that will magically motivate their kid to become perfect in all things?

 

Research shows that verbal abuse has the same negative effect as physical abuse.  In other words, when that Dad screams at his son and humiliates him in front of the team it injures his son as badly as taking his fist and slapping his face.  The more I think about this, the angrier I am getting.  Yeah….there is a part of me that would like to punch that Dad too, except for what I know about the cycle of abuse.

 

Parents will raise their kids like they were raised.  It is true.  Are you reading this, parents?  Chances are, the screaming Dad on your team had a parent treating him the same way as a boy.  In fact, it is possible that the sad little boy on my son’s team thirty years ago could very well be the Dad on your team today.

 

Here’s what you can do.   Take a stand against child abuse and family violence.  Parent education is the key that unlocks the door to healing for the broken parents that are raising broken kids.

 

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

April is Child Abuse Prevention month!

April is Child Abuse Prevention month!  In 1982, Congress resolved that June 6–12 should be designated as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week; the following year, President Reagan proclaimed April to be the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a tradition that continues to this day. The National Exchange Club honors Child Abuse Prevention Month through events and activities to raise awareness and support children and families.

Aware has a couple of events going on during the month of April. Check out our FB page and our website. Join us in preventing child abuse and family violence!

Parent’s Corner – What If’s

3-12-17

 

Dear Sue Ellen

 

I don’t have any children yet, but we are thinking about it.  What if we are bad parents or our baby is born with a handicap?  I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a parent.  Any words of encouragement?

Alex

 

 

Dear Alex,

 

It seems to me, the “what-ifs” in life can take us down dark rabbit-holes we have a hard time crawling out of.  “What-ifs” can lead us to depression, anxiety, fear, and hopelessness.  We can become defeated.

 

Life is full of uncertainty.   How we navigate through the twists and turns of our journey on earth helps to build our characters.  What are your strengths?  What is causing you to question your ability to be a good parent?  Good parenting usually passes from generation to generation.  We mostly learn how to be a parent from our own parents and grandparents.  How do you rate your own parents and grandparents?  The good news is, we can easily be taught better parenting skills if need be.  It just takes an investment of time and thought.  Parenting classes are available in most communities.

 

I have the privilege of knowing parents with handicapped children, and have learned so much from both the parents and their kids.  I believe the world needs children with special needs because of what they teach us.  I also believe parents are chosen by a higher power to be entrusted with the care of special needs children.  Does that make it easy to be that special parent? No.  If you are looking for a good time as a parent, you might want to get a pet instead.  Being a good parent isn’t for the faint of heart.  It can be the best and worst experience of your life.

 

Here are my words of encouragement for you. If you are a person of faith, rely on what you know about love to guide your decision.  If you aren’t a person of faith, find some.  You will need it if you decide to become a parent.

 

 

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Volunteers Needed

If you are interested in being a volunteer for Aware Central Texas, please contact Nancy Jane Holder, our Director of Volunteer Services.

We are currently looking for :

Family Coaches- working directly with families and helping them access resources.

Education Volunteers – Teachers and Assistants

 

Please call – 254-702-0772 or email njholder@awarecentraltexas.org

 

Exchange Parent Aide Model

The evidenced-based Exchange Parent Aide Model is a family home-visitation model. Parent Aides are trained, professionally supervised individuals (paid and volunteer) who provide supportive and educational, in-home services to families at-risk of child abuse and neglect.

Exchange Parent Aides act as mentors and provide intensive support, information, and modeling of effective parenting — all in the home of the family. Services are family centered and focus on:
  • Parental resilience is developed through teaching problem solving skills, modeling effective parenting, providing 24/7 support and  referrals to services.
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development is encouraged and developed through sharing skills and modeling strategies. Individualized help is provided in the home with the parents’ children.
  • Social connections are developed and fostered through social support building the individual relationship and connecting the parents to others through group meetings, activities and referrals.
  • Social-emotional competence of children is developed through strengthening the nurturing capabilities of the family. Interaction of parents with the children is observed and modeling is provided for support of the children’s competence.
  • Ensuring safety of the children including attention to medical, dental or mental health care needs; safe housing; and freedom from child abuse, neglect and domestic violence.
The Exchange Parent Aide program has been replicated since 1979, in over 80 communities in more than 28 states and Puerto Rico.  It is utilized in rural, urban, and suburban areas serving diverse populations in a culturally responsive manner.

 

 

Parent’s Corner – Girls That are Mean to Boys

 

3-6-17

Dear Sue Ellen

I hear and see things on the internet and TV about girls that are mean to other girls.  But what about girls that are mean to boys?  My 14-year-old son is crazy about his first girlfriend but she is really mean to him.  He can’t see past her beauty to see that she is selfish and hateful.  Am I supposed to watch this mean girl break his heart and do nothing to prevent it?

C.M

 

 

Dear C.M

 

We all have regrets as parents.  One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t teach my son to beware of pretty girls with selfish agendas coming after him.  It has caused him a lot of trouble that could have been avoided if he had known that just because a girl is pretty, or smart, or smitten with him it would automatically be a good thing to get close to her.  Trouble and temptation often come wrapped in a beautiful seductive package.

 

There comes a time when we gradually let our children start making their own decisions. If you try to discourage your son at this point, will he listen to you?  Probably not.  Maybe you could sit down with him and express your concerns anyway.  He may not agree, but at least you would have warned him.  When this relationship blows up, don’t you dare tell him “I told you so”.  That would make you a mean Mom.  Be patient, loving and supportive.

 

Have you had the sex talk with him?  Mean girls sometimes use sex to control boys.  He should be aware of that.

 

If your son’s grades start dropping or his personality changes and he becomes moody or unpleasant you might consider taking a harder “tough love” approach and have a family intervention or demand that he break-up with her.  Mean girls like to create discord and strife.  They love the drama.  They also like to isolate their targeted victim from friends and family.  Did I mention that mean girls are sometimes abusive?

 

To all parents of boys:  Please teach your sons about mean girls.  They can destroy a good boy.  Teach your sons to stay away from girls that don’t show good moral character.  Teach them that abstaining from sex until the right time (preferably when they get married) is a good thing.  They won’t die from lack of sex.  To all parents of mean girls:  I am not hating on your daughters.  They are looking for love in the wrong way.  Please show your daughters love and direction.  Teach them the value of being a good person.  You may have to watch your son’s heart be broken by this mean girl.  Whatever direction you choose to go in coping with this situation, temper it with love, patience and kindness.

 

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Leadership Belton 2017

Aware is so fortunate and thankful to have been selected as the project for the Leadership Belton  class of 2017. This project, upon completion, will provide a temporary relief house and a safe place for victims of domestic violence, assist agencies in providing comfortable and secure space while they begin the relocating process along with start up of services, and a place for our community to show its deep passion and love to this much needed service.

Please consider making a donation to this worthwhile project by going to our website and clicking on Donate button–  www.awarecentraltexas.org

 

 

 

 

Parent’s Corner- Eaters of Strange Things

 

2/26/2017

 

Dear Sue Ellen

 

My 2-year-old daughter eats paper.  The other day I found her digging in the garbage and eating newspaper.  She eats toilet paper, newspaper, paper towels and anything paper she can get her hands on.  I scream at her and tell her to stop, but she won’t.

Lindy

 

 

Dear Lindy,

 

Children are eaters of strange things.  When my daughter was two I discovered her eating dog food out of the pet bowl.  I have been told by my older brother that I ate dirt when I was a toddler (with a spoon of course).  A friend told me her little boy would eat bugs.  I think grown-ups are eaters of strange things too.  I watched a man eat a spider once.  Kids eating paper isn’t that uncommon, especially in school.  Ever hear of spit wads?  I bet a few of them have been digested over the years.  I was in my granddaughter’s second grade class to read a story one time and I watched in horror as a beautiful little girl daintily put her finger in her nose and…. you know the rest of the story.

 

You might want to ask a nurse or your daughter’s pediatrician about it to make sure it isn’t affecting her health.  Will she grow out of it?  Hopefully because when she is in middle school and kids see her eating her test paper with a bad grade on it, they will make fun of her

and even worse, you will never see the test.

 

How often do you scream at your toddler?  There are times when screaming is necessary.  If your daughter is about to chase a ball into oncoming traffic, you must get her to stop and it may include shouting at her.  Screaming at children can be traumatic and put them at risk for emotional abuse.  The words we use to communicate with our children matter.  There has been a lot of research about child abuse.  Emotional abuse is defined as using hateful, demeaning, unloving or critical words.  People usually raise their voices when they are frustrated, afraid or angry.  Are you screaming at your toddler because you are frustrated?  I am not saying that you are guilty of emotionally abusing your child.  I am just suggesting there might be a better way to guide her without screaming at her.  Toddlers are impulsive and inquisitive.  They are learning boundaries and need the loving support of parents to teach and redirect.  If you feel that you are constantly having to punish your child, you may be the one out of control, and not your child.  I am not shouting at you when I say this.  I am lovingly trying to redirect your behavior.  Shouting at a two-year-old for eating paper is probably too harsh.

 

 

 

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.