Child abuse and neglect often has serious effects. These effects are both short- and long-term. Child abuse may be emotional, physical, or sexual. Neglect can be either physical neglect, such as not providing food or general safety, or emotional neglect. The Centers for Disease Control found that rates for different types of abuse and neglect were:
- Physical abuse 28.3%
- Sexual abuse 20.7%
- Emotional neglect 14.8%
- Emotional abuse 10.6%
- Physical neglect 9.9%
Children who have been abused or neglected are at increased risk for substance abuse, committing crimes, school failure, violent behavior and psychological problems. Many have problems with self-esteem, relationships, anxiety, and depression. Some children have severe problems after abuse. Problems like anger outbursts and violence, cutting, suicide attempts, panic attacks, nightmares and flashbacks, and a host of other significant issues can develop.
One thing we know is that silence makes matters worse. If you know a child who has been abused or neglected, encourage their parents or caregivers to get help. The good news is, there are ways to help children who have been mistreated. Many professionals are well-trained to help children and families who have had these experiences. The sooner they get help, the better.