Based on recent studies there is a correlation between child maltreatment and culture and ethnicity. Research indicates that child sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect are the most common forms of child maltreatment. However, childhood sexual abuse is the most common form of abuse among the Latinos with rates of almost 8%, which is higher than the childhood sexual abuse among the African Americans and the Asians. Additionally, childhood sexual abuse between the Chinese is lower than for the U.S children. This is because of the conservative Chinese cultural norms that discourage sexual activity at an early age.
Child physical abuse is high among the African Americans and the Asian Americans (Rates are at 15.3% and 16.6% respectively) (Elliott, and Urquiza 792). For the Non-Latino Whites and Latinos the rates are much lower. Parents from different cultures will use different disciplinary techniques. Ethnic differences in parenting will vary based on factors such as socioeconomic status, acculturation levels and neighbored variables.
Child neglect occurs across all ethnic groups. Among the African American and Latino parents, studies show inadequate supervision, exploitation and exposing children to harmful circumstances. For the Latinos, there was evidence of inadequate provision of food and education.
Ethnic differences in Child Welfare System
Child maltreatment is also common in the child welfare system. Data indicates that victimization rates for African Americans are at a rate of 20.4 per thousand whereas the Native American children victimization rate is at 21.3 per thousand. For the non-Latino Whites, Latinos and the Asian children, the rates of victimization range between 2.7 and 11 per thousand (Elliott, and Urquiza 794).
A higher percentage of the children in the foster care system are Latinos and the African Americans. Teachers or service providers who report child abuse can attribute this to entry factors such as biasness. Caseworkers will be more concerned in cases of child maltreatment where the children are from an ethnic minority group. Further, the caseworkers may tend to put in place restrictive interventions such as mandated parenting classes and removal of children from their homes. Cases of children maltreatment among the African American community tends to be given a high priority than cases form other ethnic groups. In cases where a child is placed in the system until issues are resolved, ethnic minority children tend to remain in the system longer than non-Latino White children. Based on this, it is evident that ethnic differences in children’s representation in child welfare system depend on the children’s ethnic backgrounds.
Problems associated with study of ethnicity and maltreatment
Problems with this study may emanate from the much focus on African American ethnicity and Latinos ethnicities. Studies of maltreatment in Asian American ethnicity are few. Ignoring the variability that may exist within different groups may result to untrue application of stereotypes to individuals. Incorporating cultural values in the study of child maltreatment may be helpful in reducing stereotyping in the study of child maltreatment.
Elliott, Katherine, and Anthony Urquiza. "Ethnicity, Culture, and Child Maltreatment." Journal
Of Social Issues 62.4 (2006): 787-809.Academic Search Premier. Web. 3 Feb. 2014.