Discuss about the Child abuse and Neglect.
Child abuse is the maltreatment in which a child is physically, sexually and emotionally harassed or neglected either by parents or caregiver. The actions and failure to act by the parents or the caregivers would result in physical harm, emotional or psychological distress (Damashek and Chaffin 2012). The child maltreatment includes the neglect, physical or sexual abuse, emotional abuse or exploitation (Sperry and Widom 2013). According to World Health Organization, child abuse is defined as the physical and emotional ill treatment, negligence or exploitation that affects the child’s health, development, survival or dignity in context to relationships with parents or caregivers (World Health Organization 2014). World Health Organization recognizes child abuse as a major global problem that is impairing the lifelong physical and mental well being affecting their physical and social development (Stoltenborgh, Bakermans-Kranenburg and van IJzendoorn 2013). World Health Organization has developed step wise policy development to prevent child abuse or neglect.
There are several phases for the development of policy for child abuse or neglect. There are three main phases involving the planning, designing and leading of the policy, formulation of the policy, approval and proper endorsement of the policy tools (Gerston 2014). The policy development requires workforce, alternate care for children, and better access to resources of health to the children and the families for the implementation of protective services that are effective for the children (Hill 2014). The policy area also focuses on the justice system operating towards the victims of child abuse or health.
The part one is the setting up the scene for studying the importance of development of policies for the child abuse or neglect. This phase also covers the relation of the policy to legislation, general considerations regarding the scope and demand for the child abuse or neglect prevention policy (Anderson 2014). It also takes into account the existing policies on child abuse or neglect mainstreaming and generation of policy on child abuse or neglect. The part two is the actual development of policy in response to child abuse or neglect (Birkland 2014). In the phase one, the initiation of the process of policy development takes place. It is a multi stage process. Firstly, there is assessment of the situation. It includes the statistics, global burden of child abuse or neglect and the overall scenario of child abuse affecting globally. Secondly, after the assessment, there is creation of awareness regarding the child abuse or neglect. During the third step, there is identification of leadership and political commitment. The fourth step consists of the involvement of the stakeholders and creation of ownership. The phase two encompasses of the formulation of the policy (Kickbusch and Gleicher 2012). This phase consists of three steps; the first step comprises of the defining the framework, the second step is the setting of objectives and goals and the selection of intervention strategies to prevent the child abuse or neglect and the third step is the ensuring of the policy leading to action. The third phase is the seeking of approval from different stakeholders, government and endorsements from the state.
Set up of the scene
Child abuse is a serious offence and thousands of children fall a prey to abuse or neglect. Victims of child abuse suffer difficulties in their lives and hamper their physical, emotional and psychological development. The children are the foundation of a future generation and their disrupted development would greatly affect the development on a national level. The children who are under the age of 18 years experience physical, sexual and emotional maltreatment, negligence and exploitation that potentially affect the health, development, survival and dignity in children. About 14 million children are subjected to abuse as reported by International Statistics on child abuse (Pipe, Lamb, Orbach and Cederborg 2013).
Global awareness is required in context to child abuse and World Health Organization is taking initiatives through the meetings, setting up of policies and different prevention strategies on child abuse or neglect. The child abuse related rules and regulations are being addresses by every country to create awareness, take steps to prevent it by sharing common objectives, visions and strategies (Allwood and Widom 2013). The main focus is the formulation of policies which focuses the attention on the child abuse or neglect issue to obtain optimum resources that are required to address the issue. The policy development should also lead to the appropriations of the legislatives and making of a solid budget for allocation. The child abuse policy would initiate community and national level interventions that would avoid the overlapping and gaps in the development of programs.
The policy on child abuse or neglect is basically a written document that mentions the joint actions taken by the government and nongovernmental organizations. The policy is made with an intention to create awareness, mutual understanding about the seriousness of the present situation on child abuse, articulation of the ethical principles that clearly states and justify the guide action (Blank and Burau 2013). It also generates vision on the undertaken actions, action framework, and the definition of institutional responsibilities and coordination mechanisms that engages a variety of organizations. It is considered as a set of principles that guide the decision making and proposed framework for the activities. Concisely, the child abuse or neglect policy is a document that chalks out the basic principles, defining goals, objectives, actions that are prioritized, mechanisms for controlling and preventing the child abuse or neglect injuries and reduction of the related physical and mental consequences.
The child abuse is measured in a range of situations that define the reasons. The emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, family violence and sexual abuse are the types of child abuse. The emotional abuse is the emotional and psychosocial abuse of the child. Some parents are emotionally abuse or be violent while treating their children. Children can be emotionally abused at homes as well as in schools. In Australia, child neglect refers to the situations in which the child’s needs are not fulfilled by the parents or the caregivers in context to food, shelter, and clothing, access to medical care, love, support and education. The physical abuse in Australia is encountered in domestic violence in Australia and parents physically abuse their children. The Australian community is raising recognition in terms of child abuse or neglect.
The policy is related to legislation as it gets ratified in becoming the part of the legislation. The introduction of new laws that formulate a policy establishing a system at the national level for the prevention of child abuse or neglect and the development of the policy is the most important step (Widom, Czaja and DuMont 2015). The only difference lies between a policy and legislation is that policy is not a legal document and legislation consists of laws enacted by law makers. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child imposes implications for the protection of child from abuse or neglect. The policy document signing shows the willingness of the countries to abide by the proposed set goals and principles. The ratification and signing of international treaty that provides a framework that is legal and applied to governments at the national levels that helps in increasing the accountability, policy development, legislative reform and provide a supportive environment for the child abuse or neglect prevention. The civil societies also use the international agreements to advocate reformations in the laws for the countries. The World Health Assembly resolutions are adopted by regional committees, World Health Organization in the making of policy by the policy makers that lays the foundation for political support in making of national policies.
The health sector plays an important role in taking care for the child abuse victims and not necessarily considering the prevention of the child abuse or neglect. The leadership role comprises of the assessment of the initial situation, raising awareness among the government partners, advocate and create, draft policies. The ministry of health collects data from the sectors and provides evidence based research is the catalytic role. The coordinating role is the main function to overcome the barriers that are institutional between the sectors and provide a collaborative environment. It also provides a supportive role by improving the hospital based data for better monitoring of the evaluation methods. If the political leaders are made aware regarding the seriousness of the child abuse or neglect problem, then the ground is set for the creation of national policy on the child abuse or neglect.
Development of policy in response to child abuse or neglect
The execution of policy development occurs in three phases. The initiation of process of policy development and identification of the roles of main stakeholders, the drafting of policy is the second phase and the third phase comprises of the endorsement and official approval of the policy. The phase one comprises of four steps including assessment of the situation, raising awareness, identification of the leadership and political commitments and final step is the involvement of the stakeholders and creation of ownership. The phase two consists of three steps like the defining of the framework, setting of the objectives and interventions and the third step is the leading of the policy into action. Finally, the third phase is the seeking of approval from the government and stakeholder and getting state endorsements (Nanda and Pring 2012).
Initiation of process of policy development
This phase consists of the assessment of the current scenario with respect to child abuse or neglect, creating awareness for the issue, political sense of leadership and commitment and involvement of stakeholders. For the assessment of a situation, a good understanding is required regarding the epidemiology, intervention, existing policies of child abuse or neglect and a n analysis of stakeholders. This assessment step helps in widening the scope for the directed policy making where every type of child abuse is tackled and linked to the health strategies and plans. The epidemiological assessment is the collection of data at the national level. It gives a clear picture of the incidence of child abuse, causes, risks and other protective factors. The intervention assessment gives a clear view of the existing interventions that are I tended to prevent child abuse or neglect. It also helps to reduce the harmful consequences of the child abuse. The assessment of the existing health policies, laws and regulations would help to frame the new policy. The implementation of the current policies and the regulations are the important steps involved in it. The analysis of stakeholders would help to throw light on the social environment where the development of the policy is being undertaken. The government departments, institutions and nongovernmental organizations are the potential stakeholders.
The raising of awareness about child abuse along with community education and advocacy influences public, policy making opinions and programs that are helpful in mobilizing the policy development process. The leadership and political commitment is required for policy development as the policy stretches beyond a particular sector at the national level. The main leadership quality is to coordinate inputs directed towards policy making. The involvement of stakeholders increases motivation and ownership. It encompasses stakeholders that are empowered to solve the issue for which the policy is being made. Community participation is important to tackle abuse and develop policy.
Formulation of policy
The defining of framework is the recommended approach to policy documentation, direction and overall shaping of the policy. The goals and objectives of the policy, timeframe and the guiding principles of the policy are defined in this step. It should also justify the policy needs, data recourse, mortality and morbidity related to child abuse. The human rights, equity and social justice, autonomy, dignity and community involvement are the general principles that guide the policy making. The setting of objectives and interventions consists of main body og policy. The outcomes of policy implementation define the objective, requirement of base line data for quantifying objective. The objectives include components of child abuse control based on data, setting of sub objectives to address each type of child abuse, identify relevant I interventions and its effectiveness. It also includes sequence of interventions according to their effectiveness. For the implementation phase, it is important to set priorities depending on type of child abuse and other factors in shaping of the policy. Prevention is directed more in reducing violence that leads to child abuse and deciding priorities within the scope of making of policy would define the different stakeholders and appropriate interventions. It is also important to define the responsibilities of the institution and coordination of mechanisms between the national entities and ministries in policy documentation (Petersen, Joseph and Feit 2014).
Without proper financial and human resources, the policy cannot be developed. The training, costs for implementation, funding sources from national and international agencies decides the degree of success of the policy. The monitoring and evaluation of the policy drafting is the final step. The evaluation of policy helps to know the loopholes in the policy development.
Approval seeking and endorsement
This is the final step in the policy development starting with approval from stakeholder and government. A consultative meeting of the stakeholders discussing about structure, content of the policy document with each stakeholder commenting on the draft, discussing the opportunities and constraints in the implementation of policy involves the stakeholder approval. The stakeholders hold an important position in policy making and their approval is vital for implementation. The government approval is important before the policy is recognized by a legislative or state body. The government approval gives advantage to a person or organization within government to play leadership role in the process. The policies are required to be approved by the monitories before the state endorsement. The coordination between several ministries and their commitment is desirable for attaining the highest level of approval in policy making. An officially approved policy document helps to considered being best and resistant in terms of changing political climate and government. A policy that does not seek approval through different legislative or government body faces failure in the long run. Therefore, approving of policy document would help to implement the policy firmly according to political agenda (Buckley and Nolan 2015).
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