The ongoing case against Madelyne Gorman Toogood-who was videotaped repeatedly hitting her 4-year-old daughter in a department store parking lot last Friday, September 20-has once again brought child abuse into the national spotlight. Toogood faces a felony charge of battery to a child, but pled "not guilty" during her hearing on Monday, September 23. Apparently, child abuse remains a societal problem.
"Very conservatively, one in 15 children.is physically abused," says psychologist Rita Justice, Ph.D., who specializes in child abuse. Beyond cases of physical abuse, there are those of mental and emotional abuse and even of neglect.
"Most people who are abusers were abused themselves," explains Justice. Research has found that having a history of neglect is the greatest determining factor in predicting child abuse. And while it is possible to break the family tradition of abuse, Justice notes that it may require therapy, outside intervention and support groups.