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Open AccessArticle

Who Owns Child Abuse?

Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology, University of Windsor, 401 Sunset Ave., Windsor, ON N9B 3P4, Canada
Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 854-870; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci3040854
Received: 16 July 2014 / Revised: 8 October 2014 / Accepted: 20 October 2014 / Published: 6 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection)
Expectations of contemporary child protection apparatuses are strongly influenced by beliefs inherited from the nineteenth century child rescue movement. In particular, the belief that child abuse determination is obvious. However, this assumption fails to make a distinction between nineteenth century’s emphasis on impoverished environments and the twentieth century introduction of the pathological child abuser. Moreover, the proliferation of kinds of child abuse, and the need to distinguish child abusers from non-abusers, means knowledge is now spread across an array of disciplines and professions, which necessarily destabilizes the definition of child abuse. The increasing exposure of alternate care systems as potentially abusive has similarly destabilized the old common sense solution to neglected children—namely removal. Finally, as uncertainty increases, and definitions become more divergent, the question of what child abuse is, and what should be done about it, becomes increasingly politicized. View Full-Text
Keywords: child abuse; uncertainty; alternative care; risk assessment; child rescue; child protection child abuse; uncertainty; alternative care; risk assessment; child rescue; child protection
MDPI and ACS Style

Cradock, G. Who Owns Child Abuse? Soc. Sci. 2014, 3, 854-870.

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