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Bettelheim cavalierly refers to as the positive reorganization of sexual drives that enables children to overcome Oedipal complexes and sibling rivalries. Yet, to my mind, such focus on resolution and happiness only points to our tenacious capacity to avoid unpleasant insights into childhood experiences. In contrast to Mr.

Bettelheim, I suspect our continual attraction to fairy tales, especially the classical Grimms' stories, is based more on something adults repress and are afraid to talk about, something the Grimms knew years ago but also repressed.

National Statistics on Child Abuse – National Childrens Alliance

I mean child abuse, neglect and abandonment, and not only the kind experienced at the hands of strangers but that meted out by parents themselves. Perhaps the most therapeutic aspect of these stories is the reassurance they give parents that children survive the horrors they impose on them with good will and the desire to lead a different life. Fairy tales have always expressed an adult viewpoint on family relations and power.

We tend to forget it, but adults were the ones who first told them, wrote them down and circulated them. Though the stories may ultimately defend the rights of children and underdogs, they do so only by ration-alizing the actions of the adults, who want to make certain their children are socialized to forget the abuse they have suffered.

I do not mean to exaggerate and argue that fairy tales completely rationalize abusive attitudes and behavior toward children, or that all parents abuse their children. To a certain extent these stories were told and written to reveal the shame and guilt adults feel at even fantasizing about cruelty to their children. More than anything else, I believe, they reveal what the psychoanalysts Alice Miller and James Hoyme have identified as the ambivalent feelings parents have about their children, their desire to abandon them and the shame they feel when they actually abuse them.

The popular response to Mr. Bettelheim's soothing interpretation of the fairy tales is in keeping with the saccharine Walt Disney film and book versions. They prevent us from recognizing our contradictory attitudes toward our children. They conceal and rationalize our drives to punish them for intruding on our lives and being part of predicaments that we ourselves have actually created.

If we examine the body of the Grimms' tales we find well over about children who experience some form of mistreatment. Many begin with children being kidnapped, used as objects in a barter with the devil, or abandoned.

How A Messed Up Childhood Affects You In Adulthood

Abandonment and continual persecution are central issues in ''Brother and Sister,'' ''Hansel and Gretel'' and ''Jorinda and Joringel'' - who else is the stepmother-witch but the real mother of the children? The Grimms consciously changed mother figures into stepmothers in their collection. They could not face the fact that a ''true'' mother could be abusive. No wonder contemporary publishers, responding to pressure from parents and others, often want to expurgate all details from fairy tales that suggest how violently young children have been treated and punished. Violent acts are eliminated, such as the wolf swallowing Granny and Little Red Riding Hood, or Cinderella's sisters' eyes being pecked out.

Some stories, such as ''All Fur,'' in which a king wants to marry his daughter, or ''The Maiden Without Hands,'' in which a daughter is compelled to have her hands chopped off because of her father's indiscretion, are not included in collections, much less published alone as story books. View all New York Times newsletters. Not only do we avoid tales in which adults bear responsibility for misfortune, but we favor those that put the blame on children themselves. The Grimms' and other fairy tales are full of signals that indicate to children that they, not their elders, are responsible if they are harmed or violated.

The best example is ''Little Red Riding Hood. Never, she tells everyone at the end of the story, will she ever veer from the straight path again. Children are not to explore nature. They are not to be adventurous. They are to be afraid of the world.

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But who has made the world such a dangerous place, and who does most of the violating that children are made to feel responsible for causing? Throughout the Grimms' tales children bear the brunt of frustration and rage that parents feel. In ''Mother Trudy,'' a disobedient girl is repaid for her curiosity by a witch who turns her into a log of wood that will be burned.

In ''The Jupiter Tree,'' a boy is murdered by his stepmother because she wants her own daughter to inherit everything from her husband. Although this may suggest that the incidence of the criminal offence Cruelty to children fell between and , a more careful historical analysis is needed to establish whether this trend reflects real decreases in the number of maltreatment-related crimes or whether it reflects wider changes to the judicial system, such as stricter guidelines on determining guilt.

Nonetheless, this finding provides historical perspective and sheds light on longer-term, as well as more recent, maltreatment trends. This example also shows that the iCoverT can be analysed using time series methods to help answer key questions within child maltreatment research. The graph plots the raw data black , interpolated data grey , and an eight-year moving average red of the age-standardised incidence per , of persons found guilty of the criminal offence, Cruelty to children , by calendar year. The iCoverT has a number of strengths. The first strength lies in the systematic and exhaustive methods used to develop each database and their accompanying data documentation.

All identified datasets underwent thorough investigations and were assessed against pre-specified inclusion and quality criteria. Data were manually extracted and checked in full by a second extractor. Despite complexities to the data extraction process, there was good agreement between extractors In addition, we included unique steps to generate complete, temporally consistent data, applying data linkage strategies and data adjustments where appropriate.

All stages of dataset identification, investigation, assessment, data extraction and preparation were meticulously documented. The second strength lies in the richness of the data. The iCoverT consists of six databases with data variables and spans from to The databases extend current data by over 80 years, and each database may shed a different light on the complex construct of child maltreatment. Data variables may also offer important insights as they provide additional breakdowns, including information on: country, gender and age of victims, and type of child maltreatment. Third, the databases are nationally representative of England and Wales.

Research on this type of epidemiological data results in robust and translatable national-level evidence, which is most pertinent for informing public health polices and interventions.

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Lastly, because new relevant data will become available each year, the iCoverT has potential for maintenance and growth. We intend to continue to collect data going forward, regularly updating and maintaining the iCoverT as a freely accessible data source for research. The iCoverT also has several limitations. First, most data were not originally collected for research purposes. Although we exhaustively investigated and addressed all identified confounders, the data may be influenced by obscure operational processes and changing organisation priorities that we are unaware of [ 23 ].

Second, while all data were reported annually, this temporal information may not necessarily reflect the occurrence of maltreatment in that specific year. This is particularly relevant for Mortality Statistics as previous research highlights a reporting delay in registering deaths [ 19 ]. However, the most recent release relating to Mortality Statistics states that the median registration is only 5 days, which would minimally effect the temporal accuracy of these data [ 24 ].

The iCoverT is a rich, freely accessible data source on the incidence of child maltreatment over time in England and Wales. The development of the iCoverT, as described in this article, demonstrates how systematic methods can be used to overcome practical obstacles and harness pre-existing datasets from across disciplines. We believe that the iCoverT will be an invaluable data source and public health surveillance tool for researchers, clinicians and policy-makers concerned with child maltreatment.

Note that full details of data adjustments for each database are detailed in the Data dictionaries. We would also like to thank all persons, organisations, libraries and archives who responded to our enquiries and FOI requests. Benjamin Jenkins should also be thanked for his feedback on the manuscript. Browse Subject Areas? Click through the PLOS taxonomy to find articles in your field. Abstract Child maltreatment is a major public health problem, which is plagued with research challenges.

Introduction Child maltreatment is a major public health and social welfare problem world-wide [ 1 , 2 ]. Methods Overview We adapted systematic review and routinely-collected data recommendations from the PRISMA and RECORD statements to devise a systematic strategy for identifying, investigating and assessing pre-existing datasets of routinely collected data [ 12 , 13 ].

Download: PPT. Fig 1. Schematic diagram illustrating the process of developing the iCoverT. Dataset identification Three main search strategies were used to identify relevant datasets on the incidence of child maltreatment in England and Wales, including literature and internet searches using historically sensitive search terms and contact with experts within academia and health provision. Dataset investigation and quality assessment We investigated the 13 identified datasets by asking the following key questions: who collects the data, why are the data collected, when were the data collected, what data are collected, and where are the data located.

Data extraction We located, saved and indexed all available data for the six included datasets using the online shareable reference manager Zotero. Data preparation Following data extraction, we prepared the data in two main stages to generate six databases of complete, temporally consistent time series data. Stage 1: Generating temporally consistent data.

Stage 2: Adjusting the data. Data documentation We systematically and comprehensively documented all stages of dataset investigations and assessment, and data extraction and preparation. Database characteristics. Descriptive statistics. Utility of the iCoverT The iCoverT is a rich epidemiological data source, which extends current maltreatment incidence data in England and Wales by over 80 years [ 11 , 18 — 21 ].

Proof-of-principle analysis To demonstrate the potential utility of the iCoverT, we carried out a proof-of-principle analysis on a subset of its data taken from the Criminal Statistics database. Fig 2. Persons guilty of Cruelty to children from to Conclusions The iCoverT is a rich, freely accessible data source on the incidence of child maltreatment over time in England and Wales.

Supporting information. S1 Table. Excluded datasets and reason s for exclusion. S2 Table. S3 Table.


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Excluded and truncated data variables with reason s for exclusion. S4 Table. Summary of changes over time, data linkage strategies and dummy variable recommendations. S5 Table. Summary of data adjustments. References 1. Preventing child maltreatment: guide to action and generating evidence.

Recognising and responding to child maltreatment. Milling Kinard E. Methodological and practical problems in conducting research on maltreated children. Child Abuse Negl.

Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect

Methodological challenges in measuring child maltreatment. Child Abus Negl. Hyndman RJ, Athanasopoulos G. Forecasting: principles and practice. OTexts; On the incidence and prevalence of child maltreatment: A research agenda.

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Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. Canadian incidence study of reported child abuse and neglect: Methodology. Can J Public Health. Washington, DC; The prevalence of child maltreatment in the Netherlands across a 5-year period. Children Act Family Law Safeguarding children statistics: the availability and comparability of data in the UK. London; PLoS Med. Database: Open Science Framework [Internet]. View Article Google Scholar Routinely collected data in national and regional databases—an under-used resource.

J Public Health. Evaluating national cause-of-death statistics: principles and application to the case of China. Bull World Health Organ. PLoS One. How safe are our children? The most comprehensive overview of child protection in the UK. NSPCC; Child maltreatment: variation in trends and policies in six developed countries. Changes in rates of violent child deaths in England and Wales between and an analysis of national mortality data. Arch Dis Child. Office for National Statistics.

The Oxford handbook of criminology. Oxford University Press; Quarterly mortality report, England [Internet].