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Perceptions About Mental And Emotional Abuse:

Most participants agreed that mental and emotional abuse can be as damaging to a child as physical abuse but were concerned about when and how government should intervene.

·       It’s every bit as bad and maybe worse.

·       Emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse, because it rips up a child’s self esteem.

·       You can make a case for mental abuse, however, that’s opening up a can of worms.

·       There must be proof that abuse or neglect is occurring before the intervention goes too far.

·       They can’t take them (the children) away just because parents are low income.

·       Children should be removed immediately if the case is extreme. (Note the recurring standard: extreme. At the same time, note the varying criteria for judging a specific situation to be extreme. This is, of course, one of the central dilemmas in child protection.)

·       Except in the most intolerable situations, a progression of steps should occur prior to the child’s removal from the home.

·       Family counseling, parenting classes, and other supports such as drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs should be made available to families that are in serious trouble.

·       The intervention must be appropriate to the situation.

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