Child abuse history has seen a drastic shift in the social perception of children and child abuse. What was once considered to be acceptable behavior is no longer viewed as admissible. There is an extremely long and bitter history of child abuse. Children have been subjected to various forms of abuse throughout history.
For the majority of child abuse history, children have been viewed as property or possessions for adults and parents to use and dispose of as they wish. In ancient cultures, such as in ancient Rome, a father maintained the ability to sell his child for economic gain.
Often, these children were sold into slavery or forced to work in hazardous conditions. In many ancient societies children were abandoned or killed if they were disabled or if they were considered to be weak. They were considered to be a waste of resources and were deemed unfit to live.
In the early history of child abuse, children were sometimes used as sacrifices to appease the gods. A child’s parents had the untested authority to do what they wanted with their child, even if that included the direct or indirect death of the child.
Throughout child abuse history children have been used in order to provide their families with financial stability. This is especially true during the industrialization period in the United States and London, when children were economically exploited in factories and workhouses. On many occasions, children were forced to work in mines or on farms in order to provide their families with a steady income.
During this era of the history of child abuse, young children were commonly forced to work over fifteen hours a day. In many of these cases, the children were required to wear chains, and if they were not working to their full potential they would be whipped or otherwise physically abused.
Children were often sent to foreign colonies in order to replenish the workforce there. While they were away from home, many of these children were subjected to extensive abuse and were forced to work long hours in harmful conditions.
Up until the late 1800s, many individuals cared for their animals better than they cared for their children. Animal cruelty was often condemned while children were offered no protection. This portion of child abuse history saw the first efforts at providing children with protection from maltreatment. In 1974, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children was established in order to begin creating methods of child abuse prevention.
Throughout the history of child abuse, physical violence and torment was considered to be an acceptable and effective method of discipline. In the 1950s, parents commonly hit or whipped a child who misbehaved. During this era of child abuse history, teachers were permitted to use physical abuse as a means of disciplining a child.
It was not until the 1960s that child abuse began to be publicly condemned. In the 1970s, the United States Federal Government established legislation aimed at establishing effective methods of preventing child abuse.
Today, child abuse is punishable under the law and is considered to be legally and socially unacceptable. Extreme physical violence and neglect should not be used in order to discipline a child. Although the history of child abuse has witnessed a shift in social perception, child abuse continues to occur today. This appalling behavior needs to be constantly addressed so that effective methods of abuse prevention may be created.