Publication Citation

3 (1) IUSTITIA 59 (1975)


Children in our society pass through a prolonged period of dependency during which they are taught the complex technological and social skills necessary for successful adult functioning. The child's experiences during this period can have profound effects on the development of his potential for meaningful interpersonal relationships, competency, and creativity. The child's dependence needs are the complement of the caretaker's nurturance. When nurturance fails or is inconsistent, societal loss merges with individual tragedy. Yet nurturance does occasionally fail. Some of those charged with the care of children abdicate their responsibilities, and do not provide the physical and/or emotional necessities for the child's normal development. Such children often suffer anaclitic depression, failure to thrive, marasmus, psychogenic retardation, etc. Other caretakers harm the child through acts of commission, inflicting non-accidental traumatic physical injury. It is the latter phenomenon, child abuse or the battered child syndrome, which concerns this article.