Irresponsible Parenting and Child Abuse

Irresponsible Parenting and Child Abuse
Irresponsible Parenting and Child Abuse

The number of calls that will be received at the Social Emergency Network are expected to reach 150,000 by the end of the current Iranian year (March 19) with 8.5% relating to child abuse, says Habibollah Masoudi Farid, deputy of social affairs at the State Welfare Organization (SWO).

Around 600 welfare centers across the country are home to orphans and children with abusive parents, and 85% of the kids have negligent parents, who often suffer from mental, physical or behavioral problems. These children also have no other caregivers, he told ILNA.

Child abuse, addiction and criminal offenses are the main indicators of irresponsible parenting. In such cases, the custody of the children is given to the SWO by the judicial authority.    

Several positive steps have been taken to address the issue of child abuse in recent years. The government passed a statute two years ago which placed social emergency responsibility on various bodies.

Further, the SWO and the Judiciary have signed a separate memorandum of understanding and a new MoU is slated to be signed with the Law Enforcement Forces, which will enable the SWO personnel to obtain in absentia a judicial decree when a child is deemed to be at serious risk of abuse.

The MoU also allows the Judiciary to give custody of a child to the SWO temporarily in specific cases till such time the ambiguities, if any, are clarified.

“Even an hour of delay can lead to irreparable harm to a child under some circumstances,” said Masoudi Farid.

The SWO has codified the Child Abuse Protocol in collaboration with the Iranian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The protocol is under implementation.

The key issues in child and adolescent psychiatry in Iran are mental health promotion in children, adolescents and their families, education, research and care in collaboration with other organizations.

 Three Domains

The prevalence of child abuse is often in three domains of physical, psychological and neglect. Since there is strong association between child maltreatment and its impact in juvenile and adulthood period in the form of school failure, substance abuse, difficulties in emotional attachment, suicide and homicide and family and intergenerational violence, appropriate education to parents and punitive laws for child abuse is important.

It is said that 50% of child mistreatment comes in the form of lack of attention or neglect (failure of a parent to provide for the development of the child – where the parent is in a position to do so – in one or more of the following areas: health, education, emotional development, nutrition, shelter and safe living conditions).

Given the fact that 98% of children attend schools, it is the best place to locate troubled children and also to address their parents in instruction on proper parenting skills, said the official.

“Our MoUs with the Education Ministry ensure preventive intervention with regard to risky conditions that students may face,” said Masoudi Farid.

Child abuse or child maltreatment is any act, or failure to act, by a parent or other caregiver that results in actual or potential harm to a child. It includes all forms of physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, or neglect, and can occur in a child’s home, or in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with.