Child abuse is the emotional, physical or sexual mistreatment of a child. The Center for Disease and disease control and Prevention defines child abuse as any acts of omission or commission by a parent or guardian that results in harm, threat on of harm or potential of harm to a child. It is claimed that most cases of child abuse occurs in a child's home, schools and communities with which a child interacts with. Experts are of the opinion that child abuse has transformed into a global health issue. In a bid to address this problem, the World Health Organization, in compliance with the recently released UN Secretary General's Study against children has launched a universal campaign that will eradicate this problem in every corner of the globe (United Nation Secretary-General's Study, 2006).
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Wolfe (2010) asserts that one of the most common forms of child abuse is child sexual abuse. Health educators are therefore, expected to be on the forefront in the fight against this maltreatment. Health educators are expected to play a variety of crucial roles in the evaluation, prevention, and treatment of sexually abused children. Health educators usually help reduce the incidents of child sex abuse by providing educational programs, family support, as well as links to societal resources for pregnant women and other high-risk populations (Wolfe, 2010). Health educators are also mandatory reporters of any incidents of child sexual abuse and are required to report any suspicions regarding this issue, whether they work in the emergency triage, home health field or school setting. Sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) are health educators who have attended a 40-hour educational program that is aimed at enlightening them on the policies, procedures, medical and legal responsibilities, medical evaluation survivor, psychological care, and forensic practices of victims. They are also qualified to give expert opinion and testimony in court about their findings. It is imperative to understand that sexual assault nurse examiners not only conduct follow-up compelling, but also specializes in the psychological care of victims and might even help the victim in matters concerning court appearance. Finally, health care educators usually work with multidisciplinary teams in the society to coordinate the care for children who are victims of sexual abuse.
Another common form of child abuse in many countries is corporal punishment. It is estimated that over 89 percent of parents in the U.S admitted that they administer corporal punishment on their children. On the contrary, corporal punishments in Scandinavia countries have banned this kind of punishment in both private and public spheres (Beckett, 2005). The differences between the two can be attributed to the laws as well as punishment should be administered to children as it instills discipline, enable them to learn right from wrong, work hard ad obey rules. Many Americans believe that without corporal punishment children would be undisciplined. Parents who were asked why they preferred corporal punishment to other forms of punishment claimed that they had to treat their children in the same manner that their own parents treated them. In contrast to the United States, Scandinavian children are protected both by the law and culture from corporal punishment. These countries have long traditional rules that prohibit violence against children as well as promoting children's rights. Corporal punishment in Scandinavia countries such as Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden is completely banished. Cultures in these nations compel parents and other caregivers to protect their children against any mental and physical violence that might be degrading or harmful. In fact, there is no legal defense available to parents that administer corporal punishment to their children.