Long Term Effects of Child Abuse

April 16, 2015
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Long Term Effects of Child Abuse
Child abuse causes traumatic and costly long-term effects on individuals and society. It is a complex problem because not all individual victims of child abuse respond the same way. Positive outcomes depend on family and community support systems and a victim’s ability to cope and thrive. Many who have been abused will experience long-term consequences, and there are many who will have better outcomes. Individual outcomes vary but depend on age, the type and duration of the maltreatment, and the relationship between the child and abuser.
Victims of child abuse can exhibit long-term physical, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral consequences, which lead to long-term societal consequences.
Physical Health Consequences

  • bruises, cuts, bleeding
  • impaired brain development
  • broken bones
  • chronic health conditions
  • head trauma
  • death


Cognitive Consequences

  • cognitive delays
  • grade repetition
  • speech & language problems
  • lower IQ scores
  • academic difficulties
  • low academic achievement


Psychological Consequences

  • low self-esteem
  • poor mental & emotional health
  • depression & anxiety
  • antisocial traits
  • relationship difficulties
  • attachment issues


Behavioral Consequences

  • substance abuse
  • school & job absenteeism
  • sexual risk-taking, pregnancy, STD’s
  • unemployment & financial problems
  • delinquency & criminality
  • aggressive & abusive behavior


Societal Consequences

  • domestic violence
  • community & economic stress
  • substance abuse
  • high health care costs
  • crime
  • fatalities


Societal Response to Abuse and Neglect

Child abuse impacts all of society so it is vital for communities to consistently provide prevention strategies and services. When communities are armed with resources and education to provide effective treatment when necessary, there is hope that the statistics for child abuse cases will decline. Ideally, the ultimate goal is to stop child abuse before it starts.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children’s Bureau

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