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FACTORS INFLUENCING CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT AND RISK FACTORS

In order to develop effective preventative interventions for individuals and families. It is important for Parents/Carers, professionals living or working with children to have a broad and wide-range understanding of the factors that are more likely to place children at risk of harm, the protective factors that helps to protect and prevent them from harm. Nevertheless, to acknowledge the manner at which these factors tend to interlink.

RISK FACTORS

THE CHILD AS AN ‘INDIVIDUAL’

Children under 5 years old of age and Children with Special Needs (e.g. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, Down syndrome, dyslexia, blindness, or cystic fibrosis impairment) are more vulnerable to be abused compared to normal children

A PARENT OR CAREGIVER CAN BE RISK FACTORS DUE TO:

Lack of knowledge and understanding of the child’s developmental needs, lack of adequate basic parental skills, from lack of setting boundaries and guardians to overly strict parental control. Thus, being overprotective.

Marital problems – including conflicts, separation and divorce

Parenting structure – single parenting can be difficult with complex issues that puts the disadvantages of low income and stress that is associated with lone parenting which contributes to the probability of a parent maltreatment to their child. On the other hand, a child who have both parent is less likely to experience abuse and neglect. The visible involvement and nurturing role that a father plays in the care and development of a child can improve the developmental needs, cognitive and social behaviour of the child.

Larger Family – Parent with greater number of children and polygamy family can contribute to the risk of child abuse and neglect.

‘Workaholic’ parenting – Poor parental attachment, but workaholic parent tends to be good providers.

COMMUNITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

  • A large number of dependent children in the family that led to overcrowding situations.
  • Parent with socioeconomic issues including- low education attainment, lack of employment or low income, poor housing or homelessness

RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL BELIEFS

  • The belief in evil spirits
  • The belief that a child is possessed can damage the relationship between the child and their parent or caregiver.
  • The child can be abused and neglected or abandoned

However, it must be emphasised that the mere sign of any of the factors listed does not necessary directly or indirectly result in child abuse and neglect. Similarly, the signs of protective factors should not be taken on a face value or result in the assumption that a child is well cared for and safe from all form of child abuse and neglect. This is because a child may be safe at home but neglected without any supervision and warmth.

PROTECTIVE FACTORS

  • Ensuring that parent or caregivers are equipped with strategies for parental resilience to implement and provide sustainable, safe and nurturing environment for the child they care for, to prevent any form of abuse and neglect.
  • Raise awareness of knowledge of parenting and the importance of healthy child development and safeguarding.
  • Encourage good social support network
  • The ability to access relevant support at the right time, including heath service, school, recreation centres and safe parks to play.

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