Child and elder abuses are worldwide problems that are on the increase. Child abuse includes among others, child neglect and the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children. A cause of harm or a serious risk of harm to an elder person due to any deliberate, negligent, calculated act by a relative, custodian or any other person is termed as elder abuse (National Center on Elder Abuse, 2010). There are many forms of child and elder abuse, which constitute a very complex and dangerous set of problems. All forms of abuse are criminal offenses. The following are two recent criminal cases, one of child abuse and the other of elder abuse.
The child abuse case involved the brutal rape of a 9-month-old girl by a 41-year-old suspect, Michael Frederick Schmidt of Hastings, who has a history of child endangerment and domestic abuse convictions. This case is probably the worst crime ever seen regarding sexual assault. The gravity of the matter is in the fact that situations that involve young infants lack a witness who can testify, and therefore prosecution is problematic. Nevertheless, the longest sentence possible against Schmidt has been pushed by the state. Prosecutors filed a motion to enhance the sentencing based on the vulnerability of the victim, abuse of a position of trust, multiple forms of penetration, the suspect’s prior crimes against children as well as the particular cruelty involved in the crime (Powell, 2010).
The elder abuse case refers to an elder who was abused by a caregiver working for an assisted-living facility in Calabasas. The caregiver had been convicted previously in the year 2007 for abusing other three residents including an 80-year-old man residing in the same facility at Calabasas. After Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department carried out an 11-month investigation into the abuse of the 80-year-old man, which resulted in the man’s death on November 6, 2007, the caregiver named Ulloa was arrested on October 2, 2008. A life imprisonment verdict against Ulloa is expected to be ruled by Judge Martin Herscovitz on 26th May this year (Scott, Gibbons, Robison & Davila, 2010).
Many research programs including the case of child abuse cited above highlight the effects of child abuse and neglect. Wounds inflicted on a child from child abuse have perpetual emotional, psychological and social effects. Repercussions of these child abuses are experienced in schools, working places and also at home. Some effects include lack of trust and relationship difficulties and feelings of worthlessness (Saisan, Smith & Segal, 2009). Abused children cannot communicate feelings effectively or easily. For this reason, the feelings may explode in unpredicted ways and when least expected. Some may turn to alcohol or drugs while others may develop depression, anger or uncontrolled anxiety.
Child abuse may take different forms and includes emotional, physical, and psychological abuse. Emotional abuse entails calling names, making negative comparisons to other children, bullying, rendering the child to violence or the abuse of others, mocking, shouting or reprimanding the child often and unreasonably. Another form of child abuse is physical abuse which includes, body wounds inflicted from sharp objects or beating the child cruelly without any explanation. It is important to consider child neglect as another form of child abuse. If the child is not cared for properly, this is child abuse by negligence. Failing to clothe, feed, wash and give medical or hygienic attention to a child also constitutes child abuse by negligence (Saisan, Smith & Segal, 2009).
The case of the elder abuse cited above highlights the vulnerability of elderly people to abuse by strangers as well as guardians. By comparison, child abuse and elder abuse fall under similar categories, that is, physical abuse, emotional abuse and abandonment abuse. The age is the difference. However, elderly people can also be abused by the virtue of having their hard-earned savings exploited and defrauded by those around them (National Center on Elder Abuse, 2010). The repercussions emanating from elder abuse have far-reaching effects. Some of the physical effects include sleep disorders, multiple illnesses, low immunity to diseases, low memory perception, death, and reduced life span. Well-known mental effects include uncontrollable depression, trauma, fatigue, and other anti-social behaviors that would result in deteriorated health conditions and possibly cause premature death (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
In conclusion, child and elder abuse is a global concern and a growing complex problem. From available statistics about 905,000 children in the year, 2006 were abused in different ways. The effects of these forms of child abuse have been known to adversely contribute to life-long painful experiences and anti-social lifestyles for children, families, and society (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2008). According to statistics, about or slightly more than half of the elderly people who have suffered from one form of abuse have also gone through another abuse of a different category (Post, Page, Conner, Prokhorov, Fang & Biroscak, 2008). There are various methods designed to minimize these offences and include Criminal Acts that ensure the culprits are punished by law.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Elder Maltreatment: Consequences. Web.
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2008). Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect. Web.
National Center on Elder Abuse. (2010). Elder Abuse. Web.
Post, L., Page, C., Conner, T., Prokhorov, A., Fang, Y., & Biroscak, J. B. (2010). Elder abuse in long-term care: types, patterns, and risk factors. Research on Aging, 32(3), 323-348.
Powell, J. (2010). Charges say man raped 9-month-old. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. Web.
Saisan, J., Smith, M., Segal, J. (2009). Child Abuse and Neglect. Web.
Scott, J., Gibbons, S., Robison, J., Davila, S. (2010). Former employee convicted of torture, elder abuse in Calabasas case. US Fed News Service. Web.