Child abuse and violence against children is a complex human behaviour with varied aetiologies [1, 2]. Why would parents or persons acting in loco parentis do something to injure or kill a child?
After working on the problem of child abuse for more than 30 years, it is a question that I both understand because I have witnessed so many examples and yet I still do not understand.
My lack of comprehension comes because of the complexity of human motivation.
In some cases abuse is an act of ignorance, in some it is an act born of stress and frustration, in other cases it is just one small element in an entire lifestyle of anger, violence and antisocial behaviour. All of these causes for abuse exist with many others and many mixtures of differing aetiologies. Figure 1 shows the many influences on a family and the factors that have been identified as leading to abuse .
For the most part, parents start out to want and love their children and somewhere in time they may deviate from those initial goals to do something that will hurt rather than protect their offspring. It is only the minority of situations that I have encountered wherein the parent was without remorse or not express the desire to control their violent behaviour. Many of the cases of the most brutal abuse comes at the hands of adults who do not have a true biological connection to the
child and are placed in a parenting situation while being unprepared and not wanting to accept the challenging task of child rearing.
It is because there are many different dynamics to abusive or violent acts that there must be many different treatment modalities employed to help parents and families make the
changes needed to control their abuse .
This paper will explore some of those modalities of treatment and will describe what some have done to stop the abuse and the cycle of abuse into future generations...