Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect
An estimated 905,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect in 2006 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). While physical injuries may or may not be immediately visible, abuse and neglect can have consequences for children, families, and society that last lifetimes, if not generations.
The impact of child abuse and neglect is often discussed in terms of physical, psychological, behavioral, and societal consequences. In reality, however, it is impossible to separate them completely. Physical consequences, such as damage to a child’s growing brain, can have psychological implications such as cognitive delays or emotional difficulties. Psychological problems often manifest as high-risk behaviors. Depression and anxiety, for example, may make a person more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol or illicit drugs, or overeat. High-risk behaviors, in turn, can lead to long-term physical health problems such as sexually transmitted diseases, cancer, and obesity.
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By the time you finish reading this, 15 children will have been abused; In the next five minutes, 30 more; Within the next hour, 360 more; And by tonight, close to 8,000+ children will have suffered from abuse, 5 of which will die. Child abuse has increased 134% since 1980 and is now considered a worldwide epidemic. The high jump in child abuse deaths and the shocking increase in statistics highlights the frightening lack of public knowledge.
Educate Yourself -- Learn the Facts
It May Just Save a Child's Life!!