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The cost of child abuse

When it comes to child abuse, Halifax pediatrician Dr. Brett Taylor says there is a lot of emotion and precious little logic, in our approach. Just over two children per 100 in Canada are investigated for signs of possible child abuse or neglect each year, according to the Canadian Incidence Study published in 2005. Taylor wonders why — as a country — we're not taking action to dramatically decrease the number of children hurt.

In the United States, a study in 2001 found that child abuse and maltreatment costs as much as $258 million per day. That includes direct costs such as hospitalization, chronic health problems, increased burden on child welfare systems and indirect costs such as juvenile delinquency and adult criminality.

What do you think shoud be done to decrease incidences of child abuse?

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Comments

sharonwilton

Ontario

Every entry into the "system" qualifies and quantifies.
Any rogue element that is quantified should be brought into alignment...either by legislation of the individual or of the "point of assessment". Oddly, both presently exist.

where is the gap?

It is the interval between episodes where the parent/guardian is not educated or trained as a mandatory requirement.

Who would do this?

Community service workers linking health and social services to the family.

Who are these people?

They presently exist as volunteers from all walks of life linking to one or more service agency

How can they become a better link?

Teach them assessment skills ,referral patterns and give them intervention authority along with a caseload.

What will this cost?

About $10 per client per day.

Posted March 27, 2008 04:07 PM

Lynne

London

I think as a whole we should stop turning that blind eye and saying "It's none of my business" when we see child abuse! Too many time that is whats said or people avoid reporting it because they are adfraid of the repercussions on themselves " I don't want them to find out I reported it" or "I don't want to get involved with all the mess with the cops and courts I don't have time for that!" Why is it we are in a society that only does something when it affects us directly, if it is a relative or our own child? The view these days seems to be "Someone elses kid is someone elses problem". This is not a view we should be taking! These are little people that cannot defend themselves, we as a society need to stand up for them and help them no matter what the cost to ourselves, because the more we help hopefully the less it will happen. Open your eyes and report it do it for the children do it for yourself! Do it annonomously if you feel better that way, but please lets stand together and shout
"NO MORE CHILD ABUSE!"

Posted March 27, 2008 04:30 PM

Jennifer Brewer

Toronto

I think all our attempts to reduce the number of children abused and killed by their parents are doomed to failure as long as we as a society continue to believe and promote the belief that children are the property of their parents. As it stands, children are the only people in our society that it is legal to hit and unfortunately, some parents have very dubious views on what constitutes "reasonable force" when it comes to approrpiate discipline. What is needed is more education, more services and help for parents and better training for educators and childcare providers. But, above all, we need to make it clear to people that children are not possessions. It can be done. After all, we once believed that women were possessions, didn't we?

Posted March 27, 2008 05:08 PM

Elle

Ancaster

Open more affordable Healthy Public daycares! -This may seem like such a silly and simple option. But the reality is; Parents are more likely to cause harm to themselves and unto others, when they themselves are under stress and financial strain.

Childcare should be a non-issue in this country. Once Maternity is completed. The child should be integrated into a fun filled and age apporiate public education center at little or no cost to the parent. This environment should be equipped with qualified instructors in a clean, safe and warm environment. A age appropriate facility where, WE as community can raise our children and ensure proper care of them. In the end , it is unfair that society places a heavy burden on parents to sink or sail in regards to child care. It really does take a community to raise healthy children.

When Parents are returning to work and contributing to a sucessful economy, than we owe it to New Parents & children to make child care available and a non issue. The stress we place on parents is an additional factor that may be resulting in the risk of the child's health and safety.

More Daycare, & Baby centers.

Posted March 27, 2008 05:18 PM

Javier Bravo

Peterborough

Child abuse is a symptome of an ill family. Parents are too busy making $. We need to createa better safety net and support system for our families in Canada. Goverment and private companies should invest on that, I can garantee big returns.

Happy families = healthy and strong society

Posted March 27, 2008 05:45 PM

CCL

Vancouver

I was abused as a child.
When I was a kid, I never had 'abused' written on me anywhere because I had a great mom who counteracted the abuse, as she herself was also abused.
Kids who are neglected tend to show signs of abuse, kids who are sexually or physically abused are hard to spot - it doesn't show up in the way they are dressed or if they are healthy or not.
We have to find out from the teachers, councilors, schools, community centres etc., neighbours, relatives...we have to educate everyone in our society that if you know of a person being abused, whether it's a child or an adult, to call the police on them, or social services on them.... or tell your boss, or whomever you know in an authority position....
Canada needs to invest in our families, that's where all of our problems begin, that's where all of our happiness, healthiness, intelligence, and worthiness comes from-which are all things that a strong, healthy society is made up of.

Posted March 27, 2008 10:19 PM

Darlene

Vancouver

I agree with Elle & Javier, we do not invest enough in our families & as a result couples are having fewer children so we have to bring in more immigrants at a far greater cost than if we were to invest in our own children. My daughter who was ADHD was removed by the Ministry of Children & Families in 2001 & I have been trying to get her home ever since, this has wiped me out financially so that my other 3 children & I have suffered.
The Ministry pays a foster parent $3,000.00 a month for her care yet couldn't pay for a specialist for her,"go figure" between lawyers, foster care,supervised visits, etc. the Government has put close to 2 million dollars into the system pertaining to my daughter& she is going to be 16 but they refuse to send her home.... typical gov't waste, that 2 million dollars could have gone a long way to helping other families or resources. Start putting money back into our children as they are our future. Hey, you rich & greedy corporations, you can't take it with you,don't you know.....

Posted March 28, 2008 12:58 AM

Brenda Sue

BC

Child abuse is not merely physical injury, or mental and emotional bullying; neglect is also abusive.
My children tell me of kids who come to school smelling rank, in the same clothes daily, hair greasy, and being socially outcast as a result.

I do not understand why our educators, who see these children daily, are not alerting Social Services?
Why are they not protecting the children they are educating?

My children have talked to school counsellors about abusive comments made by teachers, and have reported to me that the counsellors side with the teacher and do nothing.

What are we saying to kids? Too bad, or suck-it-up. We wonder why they are disrespectful, destroying our communities, and terrorizing seniors, or hurting or killing other kids.

I‘ve seen small children playing by the road with no parents around and the door of the house open. These people later tell the police "they only went in the house for a second" after their child has been abducted or killed.

It is not just "under-educated" parents that need skills to stop abuse of children; society is falling short, teaching our future leaders we are too busy for their needs, too occupied with funding to make a stand for them, and too consumed with our needs and wants to hold their hands and protectively guide them into adulthood.

Who should pay for society's failures? Our present government, since their leadership has failed to produce a more nurturing society that protects and cares for our future leaders.

We need: a government concerned with social issues, who puts OUR money into nurturing and caring for Canadians and provides needed services; free, safe, quality education for all Canadians, including ADULTS; liability in schools so abuse cannot happen in them; to stop being passive, and negligent of our obligations and responsibilities to society.

Posted March 28, 2008 06:23 AM

Tammy

Ontario

I was sexually abused as a child.
I have made a point of educating myself on the subject.
There are a lot of things we need to do as a society to stop child abuse and neglect:
- educate people thoroughly on the issues, including children, and what to do. Specifically, that most abusers are family, friends and trusted known people, NOT strangers - children do not think the same way adults do and can be easily influenced to stay silent so many never disclose the abuse;
- implement a much larger assistance network to investigate abuse reports, and to assist and support families at risk - CAS is severely overloaded, and children are dying before someone gets to them;
- implement immediate easy-to-access resources for children to receive medical and therapeutic assistance!!! Many children do not have a doctor, and getting counselling is almost impossible if you haven't got a lot of disposable income - the "free" options have such strict standards that seeking help for a child who hasn't yet said they were abused in some way (and many won't, especially to a stranger) are turned away;
- impose much stricter jail sentences to people convicted of child abuse and ANY involvement with child porn: it is appalling that a person who has sexually molested a child hundreds of times over years can get a lihjter sentence than a person who has raped an adult once. Why? Because there is still a prevailing attitude that if there was no penetration by a penis, it wasn't that bad. Often the damage is compounded at a later age when the person understands they were sexually abused, and they go through the trauma all over again. Child abuse is damaging far beyond the actual act because it is almost always a person the child loves and trusts.

Posted March 30, 2008 06:28 AM

Katherine

Ottawa

As an abused child in the '70's and '80's, I reached out for help. I was so afraid that no one would believe me. Armed with bruises, I cried my heart out to my Father's sister, one of eleven children in their family. I was brushed aside. I learned years later that she also abused her children. A neighbour once intervened as my father was beating me with a shovel. It was winter and I had missed the schoolbus because I couldn't find any mittens. I remember cowering and wondering if this would be the time he killed me. The neighbour never called the authorities. My Father and many of his siblings had also been abused as children. He was full of rage and never learned to deal with stress. I'm not sure if the physical abuse bothered me as much as the emotional abuse. Of course we were God fearing christians who attended church regularly. At one point my Father and step Mother actually applied and were accepted by social services to become an emergency foster home for other children who were abused. Denial. Many abusers don't see or won't admit they are abusing. I am nearly 40 and a single Mother and I vowed that I would not allow that to happen to my children. I recognized the need to heal my own hurt and rage and learn to deal with stress. I sought help when my children were young when I fell into a depression. I am always seeking to improve my parenting so that I can uplift and support my children. Life is stressful. There are so many expectations and pressures to perform and keep up with the Jones'. So many people disconnect and can not even bond with their children because of emotional drain or turmoil. I have forgiven and recognized that my Father was a victim who remained trapped. I am one of the lucky ones. Thank God.

We need to educate everyone, all ages, on their value and worth. We need to empower people from day one.

Posted May 4, 2008 07:12 AM

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