35 Int'l Soc. Work 5 (1992)

handle is hein.journals/intsocwk35 and id is 1 raw text is: 



Editorial


One  article in this edition of International Social Work addresses the
grave and increasingly highlighted problem of intra-familial abuse in
one part of the world. That this problem is of international concern is
evident from the attention it is given in professional circles and the
popular press. It is virtually impossible to scan a newspaper, read a
professional journal, attend a conference or mark a set of student
papers and  not be confronted with the grim reality of a seemingly
endless series of cases involving abuse, both physical and sexual,
being inflicted on children, women and the elderly.
  Each  case is of course of concern in itself; but of equal concern is
the growing  evidence that this abuse is widespread across class,
cultural and national lines, and that abuse of various kinds has been
prevalent for years in many institutions set up and long thought to be
safe havens for children removed  from  environments considered
detrimental to their development.
  One  of the troubling questions for social workers is whether this
phenomenon   is on the increase or whether we are simply more aware
of it, and more able to identify it, as we gain more experience and
sensitivity. I say troublesome because, as a former Child Welfare
practitioner, I frequently ask myself if this problem was so prevalent
where were we, why  did we not recognize more of these cases?
  Whether  the prevalence is greater now than in an earlier day is a
moot  point. Clearly there was much abuse taking place that went
unrecognized. This we know  from the myriad of young, and not so
young, adults who are now coming forward with horrendous tales of
what happened  to them in their own homes, in substitute care homes
and in institutions; the very institutions to which we sent children out
of a conviction that they were safe within them.
  Terrible as these situations are, we know that one of the troubling
repercussions of child abuse is that many people who were themselves
abused as children become the absusers of the next generation. This
type of contagion effect makes the problem a social health issue that
requires large system analyses and solutions, as well as the micro
interventions which  address  the hurt, scarring and  restricted
maturation that comes with this type of assault.
International Social Work (SAGE, London, Newbury Park and New Delhi), Vol. 35
(1992), 5-6.

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