Underreported Child Abuse

Underreported Child Abuse

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Infringing on the most basic rights of children and adolescents is a heinous crime against humanity. Protecting minors’ health and well-being requires protections (Eads, 2013). A pervasive issue with under-reporting of child abuse exists even in countries where the number of instances is highest. The attitudes and actions of parents and guardians, for example, may prevent children from revealing or even cause a kid to recant their disclosure. Obeying older people is encouraged in Indian culture, which may lead to a child’s compliance with the perpetrator’s demands. Guardians are often reluctant to obtain legal counsel because they are worried about getting themselves into trouble. After reporting, victims have no access to any more government-provided social services. It’s very uncommon for children who’ve been subjected to abuse or neglect to suffer long-term effects, including feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, and a sense of betrayal (Alfandari et al., 2021). In addition to the obvious and less apparent causes for under-reporting, there are also challenges and long-term effects for individuals impacted. Children’s protection and the prevention of child abuse are discussed, which takes a multi-agency and multi-tiered team approach, which raise public awareness of child abuse and to teach children how to spot it via innovative and culturally appealing ways.

When it comes to violence in the family, in the workplace, at school, and even in the community as a whole, there are a variety of factors at play. In these facilities, children and adolescents who have been abused are protected, loved, stimulated, sheltered, and protected from harm. Because they lack the ability to intervene or seek aid for themselves, children and those who are excessively reliant on others, whether it for emotional or financial support or social support, are especially susceptible to abuse.

Wider issues affecting disclosure and reporting

Cross-cutting issues make it difficult to disclose all forms of abuse, regardless of the kind. There may be challenges inside the family, such as cultural and religious differences. Abuse might be unreported because of a young person’s loyalty to their parents and siblings. It is also possible that they are devoted to and in love with their abusers, which might lead them to rationalise their actions. If a child’s resilience fluctuates irrespective of external influences, it may be possible to determine what constitutes emotional abuse for them.

Self-assessment tends to identify abuse at a lower incidence level than professional assessment, thus it’s crucial to be aware of this. Because they believe they are to blame for their abuser’s activities, children may be reluctant to disclose the full degree of their treatment because they believe they are to blame for the abusive behaviour they are experiencing. In addition, many studies looking at the prevalence of child abuse are reflective, therefore individuals are asked to discuss prior experiences. Victims of underreported childhood abuse may either forget or vastly underestimate what they’ve been through, or they may travel backwards in time and forget all they’ve been through. For decades, scientists have been trying to figure out why individuals who have experienced abuse tend to forget things about their past until something triggers the recollection of those lost memories. Traumatic incidents are often forgotten by adults, and they typically come to light later in life.

The Scope of Child Abuse

The most prevalent kinds of family violence against children and adolescents are physical punishment, sexual abuse, neglect, and economic exploitation. Complaints regarding physical abuse documented with social services, police stations and hospital wards are an essential source of information for learning about and analyzing how widespread the problem is in the region’s nations (Gubbels et al., 2021). Despite the fact that these complaints provide a partial picture of domestic violence, it is widely accepted that just the tip of the iceberg is visible in the available data. Using this method alone, it demonstrates that the phenomenon is far more widespread than previously anticipated and cannot be reliably defined.

Institutions such as health and education authorities, as well as family members themselves, have seen a continuous increase in the number of reports of physical and sexual abuse of children. That doesn’t imply that there has been an increase in instances, but rather that there has been an incredible learning experience about the issue and legislation aimed at safeguarding children and punishing violent conduct. This does not always indicate an increase in the number of instances. It’s astonishing, given the rise in child abuse, that doctors and nurses aren’t among the most often reported perpetrators of child maltreatment. He thinks healthcare professionals should be at the top of this list. At this point, there should be as many probable cases as there have been from medical experts. Why do so many incidents of alleged abuse go unreported? Is there anything we can do about this. Three things to keep in mind: Second, providing educational opportunities, including private initiatives to deepen knowledge; third, developing self-assurance in current abilities to assess situations and take appropriate action. The first task is to raise awareness among healthcare professionals and the general public.

Proposed Changes

Raising Awareness

The first step in combating child abuse is to increase public awareness of the problem. Seeing what child abuse looks like helps people identify with the problem and take action to report suspected abuse. Child abuse outcomes can be dramatically altered when a connection can be made with individuals and perceptions become reality. A national awareness campaign is desperately needed in the United States. People from many walks of life, not only those in the medical field. To make it a reality for more people, roadside and public area signs featuring the faces of abused children are needed (Rosenthal & Thompson, 2020). An estimated one in every five children suffers from some form of abuse or neglect.


Perhaps the lack of reporting is not a lack of knowledge, but rather an inability to comprehend the information. Primary Care Providers (PCPs) require additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of child abuse, according to an examination of the reporting of child abuse by PCPs. Other healthcare staff, such as nurses, have difficulties in seeing signs and symptoms of abuse because they lack the necessary training. In order to combat the issue of underreporting, hospitals must adopt a new strategy. Orientation training followed by annual review training is one way to ensure that doctors and auxiliary staff are up to speed on the clinical presentation of child abuse. In order to overcome ignorance, education is the sole means of doing so (Saini et al., 2019). There may be a dramatic decrease in the number of incidents of child abuse that are not reported if staff and PCPs had the information they needed to make clinical decisions about it.

Much Needed Funding

To preserve the stability of future generations, children must be given a secure and bright future. Funding is needed to make progress in raising the level of reporting. Inadequate financing is impeding progress and making it more difficult to reverse unfavourable trends. If the government does not assist by giving resources to educate the population, initiatives to modify the trend of lower reporting cannot be accomplished.

Pros and Cons

There are both advantages and disadvantages to increasing reporting levels, and this is acknowledged. Acceptance is the first stage in the process of transformation. Having written this piece, I hoped it would help others recognize the importance of safeguarding our children and persuade physicians of the urgent need to reverse the downward trend in incident reporting. Child abuse is reduced, children’s outcomes are improved, and providers’ confidence in their ability to identify and treat abuse victims is increased. However, one of the primary disadvantages is that healthcare practitioners may hesitate to make this shift since they are comfortable in their complacency. Other drawbacks include depriving other essential services of financing, provoking internal strife among abuse reports, and provoking hostility among medical professionals and patients. It is possible, however, to alter the face of child abuse in the United States by acting on one’s moral compulsions.


As a society, our ultimate objective is to eliminate all forms of child abuse, and this can only be achieved via improved educational programs. Underreporting is caused by a lack of knowledge of one’s rights and resources, as well as a lack of understanding of how to report sexual assault. As a result, public awareness campaigns are an essential component of a comprehensive strategy to combat child abuse and neglect. There are a broad variety of persons who may be contacted via these kinds of activities; they include the parents and potential parents of the children in question as well as community members and other professionals. Protect and nurture children, not exploit them via commercial sex exploitation of their vulnerable mental and physical states (Winters et al., 2020). Commercial exploitation of minors for sexual purposes symbolizes this breakdown of the natural order. Families should be able to bring abuse to the attention of authorities without fear of punishment from the perpetrator or the rest of society. Families need to become engaged in helping to locate and punish perpetrators in order to stop child sex abuse.

As a result, keeping children safe requires that abuse be reported. This promotes a lack of accountability since under-reporting diminishes the scope of what is going on. Approaches that focus on the core causes of maltreatment, such as poverty, housing, employment and health-care systems that create financial and human capital, will be the most successful.


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