Child abuse facts

Abuse and neglect have lifelong consequences for a child, including delinquency, criminal involvement, drug addiction, chronic health and mental problems, overall decline in lifetime productivity, and increased risk of continuing the cycle of abuse. Adverse consequences of abuse are often pronounced, immediately evident, enduring, and multifaceted, including:

•Poor physical health – e.g. fatigue, hypertension, impaired immune system functioning, obesity.

•Poor mental health – e.g. depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and attempts.

•Social problems – e.g. difficulty relating to peers and caregivers, lifelong difficulty developing effective relationships.

•Cognitive problems – e.g. problems of attention deficit, language development, abstract reasoning and problem solving, affecting academic achievement and school performance.

•High-risk sexual behavior – e.g. teen pregnancy, greater number of partners, early intercourse, sexually-transmitted disease.

•Behavioral problems – e.g. aggression, violence, delinquency, criminality, abusiveness.

You the community, along with the victims and their families, bear the costs of responding to child abuse and its many impacts. Two categories of cost apply: direct costs are those associated with meeting immediate needs of children who are abused or neglected; indirect costs are associated with long-term consequences and effects of abuse and neglect. Costs given below are from a nationwide comprehensive report funded by the Pew Charitable Trust.

Direct costs:
Hospitalization $ 6.6 billion
Mental health care 1.1 billion
Child welfare services 25.4 billion
Law enforcement .3 billion
Total $33.1 billion

Indirect costs:
Special education $ 2.4 billion
Juvenile delinquency 7.2 billion
Health/mental health care .7 billion
Adult criminal justice 28.0 billion
Lost lifetime earnings 33.0 billion
Total $70.7 billion

•Suffering: The costs are substantial, but the pain and suffering of abused and neglected children are virtually inexpressible. Feel it as if it were your child.