Every year an estimated one million children suffer from some form of child abuse. Despite the publics opinion it occurs in all income, racial, religious, and ethnic groups and in urban and rural communities. Throughout history children were considered the property of their father, and therefore used as he saw fit. This slave like relationship led to increased instances of child abuse, and neglect. Children who experience abuse may adopt this behavior as a model for their own parenting. For this reason government policy has called for treatment programs to rehabilitate the abused child, but studies have shown these types of programs tend to cause more abuse than if the child were taken out of the home. These treatment programs are based mainly on treatment for the abused child, and less on treatment for the abuser, which in turn is increasing instances of child abuse rather than trying to prevent them. In order to decrease the instances of child abuse the United States government needs to institute treatment programs for the abuser, allocate education for parents to help them cope with the stresses that may cause them to abuse their children, and also once child abuse is found in a home, the parents should have to undergo treatment for a certain amount of time before they can care for their children without supervision by a caseworker.
Child abuse results from a combination of personal, social, and cultural factors. These factors can be broken into four primary categories: intergenerational transmission of violence, social stress, social isolation and low community involvement, and family structure. There are four types of child abuse: physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect. In almost all cases of physical abuse the parents are to blame. Most instances of physical abuse are caused by strong negative feelings that need to be discharged, a belief that a harsh beating will keep a child from going bad, beatings will make a child tougher, braver, or stronger, and justification that the beating was in the child's best interests.