Short and Long Term Effects of Child Abuse

  • In most cases, children who are abused or neglected suffer greater emotional than physical damage.img_LongTermEffectViolence
  • Recognizing the importance of early trauma to future development is crucial to assisting the victim.
  • Not all abused or neglected children will experience long-term consequences. The outcomes of individual cases are influenced by a variety of factors that include:
    • Age and development status when the abuse took place
    • The type of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, etc.)
    • Regularity and duration of the abuse
    • The child’s relationship with the abuser

Physical Effects

  • Can be minor (bruises or cuts) or severe (broken bones, hemorrhage)
  • Important regions of the brain fail to form or grow properly
  • Lifelong physical health problems
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome (blindness, learning disabilities, mental retardation, cerebral palsy)
Psychological Effects

  • Immediate effects
    • Isolation
    • Fear
    • Inability to trust
  • Lifelong consequences:
    • Low self-esteem
    • Depression
    • Relationship difficulties
Behavioral Effects

  • Studies have found abused or neglected children to be at least 25 percent more likely to experience problems in adolescence, including:
    • Delinquency
    • Teen Pregnancy
    • Low Academic Achievement
    • Drug Use
    • Mental Health Problems
Societal Effects

  • Direct costs
    • Maintaining a child welfare system
    • Expenditures by the judicial, law enforcement, health, and mental health systems
  • Indirect Costs
    • Costs associated with juvenile and adult criminal activity
    • Mental illness
    • Substance Abuse
    • Domestic Violence
    • Loss of productivity due to unemployment and underemployment
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http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/long_term_consequences.cfm