Child abuse is an international phenomenon. Poverty and substance abuse are common widespread international issues, and no matter the location, show a similar trend in the correlation to child abuse.
Although these issues can likely contribute to child maltreatment, differences in cultural perspectives play a significant role in the treatment of children. In certain nations, the battle for equality within the sexes plays a large part in a child’s upbringing. During the Soviet period, there were conflicts regarding the traditional housewife versus the emphasis on equality within the sexes. Some women felt a considerable amount of pressure to carry out their motherly duties, obtaining an “authoritarian” parenting style, acting dominating and emotionally distant towards her children while overly involved in her own career. Many were encouraged to use more firm and direct disciplinary methods, as well as be overbearing and overprotective of their children.
Now that this Communist Era has ended, there are many positive changes being put into play. While there is a new openness and acceptance regarding parenting styles and close relationships with children, child abuse still remains a serious concern. Although it is now more publicly recognized, it has certainly not ceased to exist. While controlling parenting may be less of a concern, financial difficulty, unemployment, and substance abuse still remain to be dominating factors in child abuse throughout Eastern Europe. A study conducted by members from several Baltic and Eastern European countries, together with specialists from the United States, examined the causes of child abuse in the countries of Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia and Moldova. In these countries, respectively, 33%, 42%, 18% and 43% of children reported at least one type of child abuse. According to their findings, there was a series of correlations between the potential risk factors of parental employment status, alcohol abuse, and family size within the abuse ratings. In three of the four countries, parental substance abuse was considerably correlated with the presence of child abuse, and although it was a lower percentage, still showed a relationship in the fourth country (Moldova). Each country also showed a connection between the father not working outside of the home and either emotional or physical child abuse.
These cultural differences can be studied from many perspectives. Most importantly, overall parental behavior is genuinely different in various countries. Many may view child abuse, both emotional and physical, as socially acceptable. Each culture has their own “range of acceptability,” and what one may view as offensive, others may seem as tolerable. Behaviors that are normal to some may be viewed as abusive to others, all depending on the societal norms of that particular country.
Asian parenting perspectives, specifically, hold different ideals from American culture. Many have described their traditions as including physical and emotional closeness that ensures a lifelong bond between parent and child, as well as establishing parental authority and child obedience through harsh discipline Balancing disciplinary responsibilities within parenting is common in many Asian cultures, including China, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and Korea. To some cultures, forceful parenting may be seen as abuse, but in other societies such as these, the use of force is looked at as a reflection of parental devotion. The differences in these cultural beliefs demonstrate the importance of examining all cross-cultural perspectives when studying the concept of child abuse.
As of 2006, between 25,000 and 50,000 children in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, had been accused of witchcraft and abandoned.In Malawi it is also common practice to accuse children of witchcraft and many children have been abandoned, abused and even killed as a result.In the Nigerian states of Akwa Ibom and Cross River about 15,000 children were branded as witches