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CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE & RUNAWAYS.

  Term Paper ID:29304
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Sexual victimization of children.... More...
6 Pages / 1350 Words
9 sources, 18 Citations, APA Format
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Paper Abstract:
Sexual victimization of children. Physical, psychological and social ill effects. Programs of young children and adolescents running away from home and abusive situation. More than one million runaways living on the streets. Psychological and physical disorders suffered by runaways. Discusses studies on the subject. Need to remove vulnerable at-risk youths from abusive situation before they run away.

Paper Introduction:
Sexual Abuse of Children and Runaways Child sexual abuse involves any activity with a child before the age of legal consent that is for the sexual gratification of an adult or a significantly older child. It includes, among other things, sexual touch and penetration, persuading a child to expose sexual organs, and allowing a child to view pornography (Baker, 1999). In most cases, the child who is victimized in this manner is related to or knows his or her abuser. An estimated 20 to 25 percent of females and 10 to 15 percent of males report that they were sexually abused by the age of 18 (Baker, 1999). Sexual abuse of children is associated with a number of physical, psychological, and social ill effects. Among these effects are sleep problems and nightmares, depression and withdrawal, se

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Interviewsand follow-up were conducted between 1989 and 1995. Runaways arean extremely vulnerable population who may find themselves involved in thejuvenile justice system because of delinquency and conduct disorders.Intervening to remove the at risk youth from an abusive situation before heor she runs away is therefore vital. Sexual Abuse of Children and Runaways Child sexual abuse involves any activity with a child before the ageof legal consent that is for the sexual gratification of an adult or asignificantly older child. The presence of maltreatment was found to significantlyincrease the association between running away and disability status.Children with behavior disorders, mental retardation, and some type ofcommunication disorder were significantly more likely to run away thanchildren with other disabilities. Child abuse. Among these effects are sleepproblems and nightmares, depression and withdrawal, secretiveness, suicidalideation, academic problems, unusual aggressiveness, and delinquency orconduct problems (Child sexual abuse, 2 1). A study by Kaufman and Widom (1999) examined the interrelationship ofchildhood victimization, running away, and delinquency. (2 ). Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 36(4), 347-37 .Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Mahler, K.A., Koopman, C., & Langabeer, K. Childhood victimization, coupled withrunning away, also increases the risk of a juvenile arrest. Descriptive information was collected formaltreated and non-maltreated runaways from hospital settings (255subjects) and school populations (562) runaways. The literature strongly supports the assertion that youngpeople who are victims of sexual abuse may be at greater risk for runningaway from home than their peers who are not sexually or otherwise abused.The psychological, physical, and social effects of abuse include a lack oftrust in others and numerous personality changes and extreme reactions suchas depression, self-mutilation, and drug use (Baker, 1999). Rotheram-Borus, et al (1996) also reported that runaway males were significantlymore likely to have been sexually abused than was reported in priorresearch. However,Whitbeck, Hoyt, Yoder, Cauce, and Paradise (2 1) argued that most runawaychildren tend to report that some type of maltreatment has been aprecipitating factor in the decision to run away from home. (1996). Sullivan and Knutson (2 ) conducted a study to determine theprevalence of disabilities among abused and non-abused runaways within ahospital population and a community school population. This report has explored the linkage between sexual abuse and runningaway from home. Approximately 12 percent of American youth runaway at least onceprior to the age of 18. Among maltreated runaways with andwithout disabilities, physical abuse and sexual abuse were significantlyassociated with running away. Moresignificantly, Baker (1999) stated that anxiety, poor academic performance,suicidal conduct, and running away are among the signs and symptoms thatthe adolescent or child may have been sexually abused in the homeenvironment. These problemstended to be exacerbated in youth who left home after experiencing sexualor physical abuse. Edition 1, 672-674+.Band on the run: Troubled youth. Deviant behavior and victimization among homeless and runaway adolescents. (1999). ReferencesBaker, H. Many of these young people also reportedsuicide attempts and ideation, risk-taking sexual behaviors, includingprostitution, and high levels of drug and alcohol use. On any given night, there may be over one millionadolescent runaways on the streets or in public and private sectorresidential facilities (Schaffner, 1998). A substantial number of the 455 runaway adolescents participating inthis study left home because they were sexually or physically abused.Nearly three-fourths of all runaways said they had been struck with a hardobject while one-fourth of the females indicated that they had been askedor forced to do something sexual. The Economist, July 6, 1.Child sexual abuse. (2 2). Runaways come from the fullrange of American families: white, black, Hispanic, Native American, andAsian; single-parent and two-parent households; and privileged, middle-class, low-income, and even homeless families. The University of Nebraska study also revealed that sexual abuse andphysical abuse did not end for runaway youth after leaving home (Firststudy of..., 2 2). Relationships between sexual abuse and sexual risk, substance use,emotional distress, and conduct problems have been identified in studies ofrunaways. Young people who run away from home andadopt sex work as a means of subsistence may have been predisposed towardsuch work by earlier sexual abuse. In discussing sexual abuse and its causes, Baker (1999) noted thatfactors contributing to the willingness of an individual to sexually abusechildren include alcohol and/or drug use, poor impulse control, and abelief that these sexual behaviors are acceptable and do not harm thechild. Those who reported having been abused beforerunning away and after the age of 13 were found to be engaged in sex workor prostitution more frequently than their non-abused peers. A recent article in The Economist (Band on the run..., 2 2) reportedthat a longitudinal study of homeless or runaway adolescents conducted byresearchers at the University of Nebraska revealed that runaway youth aresignificantly more likely to suffer from conduct disorders (a mentalillness associated with emotional problems) than teenagers who do not runaway. Anestimated 2 to 25 percent of females and 1 to 15 percent of males reportthat they were sexually abused by the age of 18 (Baker, 1999). It includes, among other things, sexual touchand penetration, persuading a child to expose sexual organs, and allowing achild to view pornography (Baker, 1999). Data were obtainedfrom a prospective cohorts design study in which documented cases ofchildhood abuse and neglect were compared to matched controls. Clinical Reference Systems, Annual, 385+.First study of Midwest teen runaways reveals disturbing data on abuse, mental health. In most cases, the child who isvictimized in this manner is related to or knows his or her abuser. (2 1). Results indicated thatbeing abused or neglected in childhood increases the likelihood that ayouth will run away from home. For example, Rotheram-Borus, Mahler, Koopman, and Langabeer(1996) examined these relationships in a sample of 19 adolescent runaways. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 66(3), 39 -4 .Schaffner, L. Post-traumatic stress disorder wasobserved in 23 percent of the male runaways and 43 percent of the femalerunaways. Sexual andphysical abuse is more likely to precipitate such a decision than neglector emotional abuse. Ascribe Higher Education News Service, July 1, 1+.Kaufman, J.C., & Widom, C.S. The research indicated a high prevalence of sexual abuse in thepopulation, with over 6 percent of the subjects claiming to have beensexually abused by a parent or other adult prior to running away. The goal of thestudy was to identify any associations between disability, maltreatment,family stress factors, academic achievement, school attendance, domesticviolence, and runaway status. (1998). Sexual abuse history and associated multiple risk behavior in adolescent runaways. As Schaffner (1998) hascommented, young people run away from their parental or familial home andfrom foster care, shelters, group homes, and residential treatmentfacilities. The chances that a child will be sexually abused increase if thechild is developmentally handicapped or vulnerable in some other way. One of the potentialartifacts of sexual abuse in young children and adolescents is a propensityfor running away from home or from the abusive situation (Schaffner, 1998). Childhood victimization, running away, and delinquency. Sexual abuse of children is associated with a number of physical,psychological, and social ill effects. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16(11), 1175-12 . Adolescence, 33(131), 619-627.Sullivan, P.M., & Knutson, J.F. (2 1). Those who were sexually abused were significantly more likely than non-abused runaways to engage in unprotected sex, have more sexual partners,and use alcohol and drugs. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. (1999). The literature does not suggest that all or even most children whorun away from home have been sexually abused (First study of, 2 2 .Sexual abuse is only one of several types of abuse and maltreatment towhich young people and children are regularly subjected. (2 2). Results reported by Sullivan and Knutson (2 ) indicated that theprevalence rate of disabilities among physically or sexually abusedrunaways was 83.1 percent in the hospital sample and 34 percent in theschool sample. Among runaways who have been sexually mistreated, a significantlygreater risk of engaging in sexually deviant behaviors tends to beprominent (Kaufman & Widom, 1999). Participants in the study reported to researchers thatafter running away from home, they continued to experience unacceptablyhigh levels of victimization. The prevalence of disabilities and maltreatment among runaway children. Searching for connection: A new look at teenage runaways. Child Abuse and Neglect, 24(1 ), 1275-1288.Whitbeck, L.B., Hoyt, D.R., Yoder, K.A., Cauce, A.M., & Paradise, M.

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