Child Abuse Facts

  • Almost any adult is capable of child physical abuse or neglect given the right set of circumstances.
  • Most people who abuse their children are not intentionally harming their child.
  • Shaking an infant or toddler can cause brain damage or death.
  • Most child abductions happen with a person a child knows and trusts.
  • Child sexual abusers do not show abnormal patterns on psychological tests.
  • 90% of sexual abusers are someone the child knows and trusts.
  • 30 to 50% of child sexual abuse is committed by another child.
  • One out of every 4 girls and one out of every 7 boys will be sexually abused as a child.
  • Treatment of sex offenders (if completed) is successful in most cases.
  • There are many actions any person can take to prevent child abuse, even if you don’t have a child.
  • Child abuse occurs in every socioeconomic group, every race, every religion, and every type of family.
  • The primary causes of child abuse and neglect are; lack of accurate information about child development, isolation from the community, being a parent who was abused as a child, parental alcohol or drug abuse, parental depression, lack of helping resources, and child’s special needs.
From Prevent Child Abuse America, September 2007:

It is well documented that children who have been abused or neglected are more likely to experience adverse outcomes throughout their lives in a number of areas:

  • Poor physical health (e.g. chronic fatigue, altered immune function, hypertension, sexually transmitted diseases, obesity)
  • Poor emotional and mental health (depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and attempts, post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Social difficulties (insecure attachments with caregivers which may lead to difficulties in developing trusting relationships with peers and adults later in life)
  • Cognitive dysfunction (deficits in attention, abstract reasoning, language development and problem solving skills, which affect academic achievement and school performance)
  • High risk behaviors (a higher number of lifetime sexual partners, younger age at first voluntary intercourse, teen pregnancy, alcohol and substance abuse)
  • Behavioral problems (aggression, juvenile delinquency, adult criminality, abusive or violent behavior)