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Costs, Causes & Solutions

What are the effects of child abuse and neglect?

In a twenty-seven year study of 1,575 child victims of abuse and neglect, the National Institute of Justice, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Institute of Mental Health found that victims of child abuse and neglect are more likely to:

  • abuse their partners or spouses
  • abuse alcohol and drugs
  • experience unemployment
  • experience depression
  • drop out of school
  • commit violent crime
  • live in poverty

Why do children suffer abuse?

Most of us, no matter what our background, find being a parent challenging and want to do the best we possibly can. Sometimes, adults who were physically or emotionally abused as children do not know any other way to behave with their own children. Other times, parents who are isolated, under stress, or living with limited resources find themselves losing control with their children.

Family life is complex. Housing, parenting, employment, drug and alcohol use, lifelong learning, health, and financial stability are interconnected issues. We can't oversimplify such complicated conditions, but we do know that all families need support in order to raise safe, thriving children.

How can we prevent these problems from happening in the first place?

Across this country, a movement is afoot. This movement embraces families, supports parents, and maintains that children deserve to live out their greatest potential. By building on family strengths and cultivating support systems for families, both formal and informal, communities are helping children reach their full potential.