Treating Childhood Abuse
Child abuse can result from physical, verbal, or sexual harm. Child abuse or maltreatment affects young people of all ages. Even though the federal government and states have programs to investigate allegations of abuse, prevent abuse, and educate caregivers, child maltreatment is still a terrible misfortune for millions of children and families (Sadock, Sadock, & Ruiz, 2017, pg. 3228). Early identification of child abuse can keep children safe by stopping abuse and preventing future abuse from occurring. Treating child abuse is a significant undertaking requiring clinical training and education. However, although not every child needs therapy, it is crucial to employ strategies to assess the child for abuse and determine the child’s need for treatment during the intake stage.
Strategies to Employ to Assess the Patient for Abuse
Strategies to employ to assess the patient for abuse include screening questions about abuse and neglect, open-ended questions, or closed-ended questions. Screening questions should be utilized routinely asked of both parents and children. For instance, a routine intake assessment could be mandated as a child enters a new school, part of a medical examination, or case management services (Monroe County Department of Human Services, 2020). The screening questions should be asked without creating lasting anxiety or fear. The screening questions could be alternate between focusing on uncovering abuse and about more conventional topics to keep the interview positive and informational. When answers from a child describe or relate to abuse or neglect, the therapist or counselor must avoid blaming, accusing, or making the child feel ashamed of what occurred (Monroe County Department of Human Services, 2020).
How Might Exposure to the Media and/or Social Media Affect the Patient?
About 45% of teens are online almost always, and 97% use a social media platform (Mayo Clinic, 2019). Exposure to media or social media could affect the patient positively or negatively. Social media can provide teens with valuable support, especially for those who experience exclusion or have disabilities or chronic illnesses (Mayo Clinic, 2019). Furthermore, social media allows teens to create online identities, communicate with others, entertainment, self-expression, exposure to current events, interact across geographic barriers, help teens avoid depression, and build a social network.
Although social media has some positive impact on teens, it can also negatively impact such as distraction and disruption of sleep, exposure to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of others’ lives, and peer pressure (Mayo Clinic, 2019). A 2019 study of 12 to 15 years of age in the U.S revealed that those who spent more than three hours a day using social media might be at heightened risk for mental health problems (Mayo Clinic, 2019). Furthermore, another study of 13 to 16 years of age in 2019 in England found that those who were using social media more than three times a day predicted poor mental health and wee-being in teens. There is a link between a high level of social media use and depression or anxiety symptoms.
Type of Mandatory Reporting (if any) is Required in this Case
When there is reasonable suspicion that child abuse has occurred, mandated reporters must call the hotline. In this case, mandatory reporting is not required because the patient is 19 years old, an adult, not a child. The state law only applies to individuals under 18 years (Monroe County Department of Human Services, 2020). Since the patient is older than 18 years, the local police should be called.
Mayo Clinic. (2019). Teens and social media use: What’s the impact? Retrieved from
Monroe County Department of Human Services (2020). Screening Questions for Routine Intake
Assessment. Retrieved from https://www.dorightbykids.org/how-do-i-recognize-child-abuse-and-neglect/screening-questions-for-routine-intake-assessment/
Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2017). Kaplan & Sadock’s comprehensive textbook of
psychiatry (10th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins