Although there may be some signs and symptoms, there is no victim or perpetrator profile that can serve as a reliable predictor of risk for any given child. In other words, there is no simple universal presentation of children who have been abused.
Past News ReleasesRSS
Jacksonville, FL (PRWEB) February 15, 2012
Professional Development Resources has announced a new addition to its online continuing education (CE) curriculum for mental health professionals: Domestic Violence: Child Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence. The course, which is presented in two parts, is intended to help mental health professionals maintain a high state of vigilance and to be well prepared with immediate and appropriate responses when abuse is disclosed or suspected.
Part I deals with child abuse, which unfortunately remains a pervasive part of contemporary life in the United States. Recent government data indicate that in just one year in the U.S., substantiated cases of child abuse totaled over 700,000 children – about 1.3% of the population of children. To make matters worse, the long-term consequences include a wide range of serious effects, such as physical injuries, impaired brain development, behavioral disturbances, substance use disorders, and a variety of psychological disorders. In addition, there are a number of mechanisms by which children who are abused may grow up to become abusers themselves.
Child abuse can take place within the family, by a parent, stepparent, sibling or other relative; or outside the home, for example, by a friend, neighbor, childcare worker, teacher, or stranger. More than half of the perpetrators of child abuse are women, and about two-fifths are men. When abuse has occurred, a child can develop a variety of distressing feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Sadly, the most vulnerable children – those younger than 1 year of age – have the highest rate of victimization.
Another category of abuse that should not be overlooked is bullying, which generally happens at school, and can include emotional aggression, such as name-calling and exclusion from groups. Teachers and other adults may be at least partially aware of what is going on but do not intervene. Certain children can be at higher risk of being bullied by virtue of being different in some way. For example, children may be more likely to be bullied if they are: new at school, overweight, delayed or disabled and/or homosexual. A contemporary extension of the concept is cyber-bullying, in which the aggressive behaviors can extend to harassment via electronic communication media like email, texting, and social networking sites.
“It is critical that mental healthcare providers appreciate the potential for any child to be a victim and any adult to be a perpetrator,” says Leo Christie, PhD, president of Professional Development Resources and the author of the new course. “Although there may be some signs and symptoms, there is no victim or perpetrator profile that can serve as a reliable predictor of risk for any given child. In other words, there is no simple universal presentation of children who have been abused. We – as health professionals – simply have to be vigilant and prepared to take immediate and appropriate steps at any time.”
In all 50 states, reporting suspected child abuse is mandated by law. In some states, specific professions like health care workers, psychotherapists, teachers, daycare center workers, and law enforcement officers are named as mandatory reporters. In addition, all mandatory reporting laws use intentionally vague descriptors of the level of concern or certainty the reporter must have in order to initiate a report. Some laws specify “cause to believe…” or “suspect…” in order to achieve the threshold for reporting. However, any individual who suspects a child is being abused can report it by calling the National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453.
About Professional Development Resources, Inc.
Professional Development Resources is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation founded in 1992 by licensed marriage and family therapist Leo Christie, PhD. The company, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) – as well as many other national and state boards – has focused its efforts on making continuing education courses more cost-effective and widely accessible to health professionals by offering online home study coursework. Its current expanded curriculum includes a wide variety of clinical topics intended to equip health professionals to offer state-of-the art services to their clients.
Leo Christie, PhD, CEO
Professional Development Resources, Inc.