Child Abuse: Search for Remedies

May 12, 1965

Report Outline
Concern Over Child Abuse in the Home
Action to Protect Children from Abuse
Difficulties in Dealing with the Parents

Concern Over Child Abuse in the Home

Humanitarian concern over the most abhorrent of all forms of violence—physical brutality toward children—has taken on a new dimension with emergence of a medical concept known as “the battered child syndrome.” Doctors coined the phrase to describe newly recognized cases of children, usually very young children, suffering from the effects of repeated and severe physical chastisement. Many of these children have been crippled or have later died as a result of inhuman treatment. And the offenders usually have been the parents or guardians of the children.

As awareness of the extent of such abuses has widened, state after state has enacted laws requiring doctors to report cases of child injury that may have been caused by assault. It is generally recognized that a medical report to public authorities is only the first step in the difficult and delicate task of protecting children from harm at the hands of their own mothers or fathers. Now the nation's principal child welfare agencies, which took the lead in pressing for mandatory reporting laws, are working to establish facilities for rescuing the children and making provision for their future care.

Meanwhile, medical and social research workers have turned to a question which troubles every normal adult on hearing of a battered child case: What kind of people are they who would vent their fury on their own small children? Early answers to this question may point to new ways not only of saving the child but also of saving the home by helping the parent to overcome a destructive compulsion.

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May 12, 1965  Child Abuse: Search for Remedies
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