What is Child Abuse?

Short and Long Term Effects of Abuse

Short & Long Term Effects

In most cases, children who are abused or neglected suffer greater emotional than physical damage. 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 difficultues

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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