Child Abuse - The Problem of Definition

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Authors
Clements, Theodore J.
Issue Date
1975
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Journal Article
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FIRST PARAGRAPH(S)|It is the position of this writer that child abuse is a unique facet of a larger problem of inadequate parenting and that the gravity of child abuse, as it will be defined hereafter, warrants a mandatory reporting obligation of all persons in the community and a legal system geared for effective resolution of individual cases. |The specific question to be addressed in this article is whether the lack of a precise and limited legal definition of child abuse leads to confusion in reporting and an ineffective or uncertain state intervention. It will be argued that a definition limited to serious physical conditions would insure a consensus of opinion as to the fact of "abuse" and case legislatures and courts to liberalize the rules relating to the investigation and proof of child abuse. |The proposed definition is not intended to be in derogation of recent views concerning children's rights far beyond the right simply to be free from the infliction of serious physical injury or of efforts to improve the function of parenting with reference to accepted norms or values for family life. Rather, the attempt is made to be realistic in terms of what legislatures can and will deal with by official state intervention, leaving the remaining family problems to be dealt with by non-judicial efforts or, if by judicial efforts, then in a different fashion than child abuse....
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8 Creighton L. Rev. 729 (1974-1975)
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Creighton University School of Law
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