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By Kimberley A. McCabe

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Extra info for Child Abuse and the Criminal Justice System (Studies in Crime and Punishment, Vol. 9)

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Not only does the child suffer the physical and/or emotional damage of the incident(s) but also the damage related to a broken trust from an individual who is supposed to love and protect the child. Mayer (1983) suggests three categories of incest according to the degree of harm to the child. Those categories are: molestation, assault, and rape. In molestation cases, the child is fondled and petted by the abuser, but intercourse between the child and abuser does not take place (Mayer, 1983). The child may not suffer physical signs such as vaginal tears or a bleeding rectum; however, the child may still be left with the emotional scars of abuse.

Physical violence either experienced or witnessed by the child, is continued when the child becomes a parent. This theory suggests that today’s child victims of violence at home will be tomorrow’s adult abusers of their children (Wallace, 1999). This theory also suggests that only through intervention will the cycle of abuse be broken, and, since in most cases intervention does not occur, the abuse continues. The Psychodynamic Model The Psychodynamic Model, also called the Psychopathological Model (Gelles, 1973), maintains that the personality of the parents, in particular, the lack of bonding in the relationship McCabe: Child Abuse PHYSICAL ABUSE page 25 25 between parent and child, is a key factor in the abuse of children (Aber & Allen, 1987; Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters & Wall, 1978).

Over time, children who have been corrupted one line short McCabe: Child Abuse EMOTIONAL ABUSE page 55 55 by an adult often display antisocial and violent behaviors (Bartollas, 2000; Bynum & Thompson, 2002). These child victims of corruption become the perpetrators of criminal actions (Barkan, 2001). Property Destruction Finally, child emotional abuse may be manifested in the destruction of a child’s property or pets (Wiehe, 1997). Although more commonly seen in abuse by a sibling and not originally recognized as a form of emotional abuse, the destruction of a child’s prized possession or the child’s pet can be devastating to the child, especially when this is done in view of the child.

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