You have been kicked, punched, thrown into walls and beaten to the point that you can no longer feel the pain of new wounds that have embed themselves on your flesh. You are scared and alone and have no clue as to why your class fellows or any other person in the school show a constant anger towards you. What do you do, whom do you turn to, and what will happen if you cry out for help? In this situation a school counselor is your only hope. But if he is shying in reporting the abuse, you will definitely be in a very difficult situation.
School counselors can play a great role in preventing child abuse in schools. Reporting abuse often becomes an ethical dilemma because of difficult interactions among several factors. These factors include diverse professional contexts, legal requirements, professional-ethical standards, and the conditions of suspected abuse.
Child abuse is any maltreatment or neglect of a child that results in non-accidental damage or injury which is uncalled for. It transcended through generations and across race, class and ethnicity. Historical evidence tells that children were perceived as nothing more than property and were subjected to various forms of mistreatment. They are beaten, enslaved, prostituted and even killed at the hands of parents and guardians upon whom they are dependant. According to Gelles and Straus (1979a), "the family is perhaps the most violent social group and the home the most violent social setting, in our society” (p. 15). Every year, tens of thousands of children are distressed by physical, sexual, and emotional abuse or by caregivers who disregard them, making child abuse as recurrent as it is revolting. A child has a considerably higher chance of being killed or brutally injured by their parents than by any one else around them. Collins and Coltrane (1995) highlight this point by saying that “for children,