Fact Sheet: Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect

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Year Published
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
Resource Type
Fact Sheet
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Aside from the immediate physical injuries that children can experience through maltreatment, a child’s reactions to abuse or neglect can have lifelong and even intergenerational impacts. Childhood maltreatment can be linked to later physical, psychological, and behavioral consequences as well as costs to society as a whole. For example, abuse or neglect may stunt physical development of the child’s brain and lead to psychological problems, such as low self-esteem, which could later lead to high-risk behaviors, such as substance use. The outcomes for each child may vary widely and are affected by a combination of factors, including the child’s age and developmental status when the maltreatment occurred; the type, frequency, duration, and severity of the maltreatment; and the relationship between the child and the perpetrator. 

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