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Consequences of Abuse and Neglect

Child abuse and neglect exacts an enormous toll on society and greatly impacts the victims in numerous ways. The stress, trauma and persistent fear that occur at an early age from the result of child abuse causes children to have lifelong health, psychological, and behavioral consequences.

Physical Health Consequences:

  • Impaired brain development
  • Poor overall physical health

Psychological Consequences:

  • Poor mental and emotional health
    • Depression, attachment disorders, anxiety, PTSD, panic disorder, anger, ADHD, dissociative disorders as well as many others.
  • Cognitive and learning difficulties
  • Language delays

Behavioral Consequences:

  • Delinquent behavior
  • Adult criminality
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Abuse behavior
  • Inappropriate behavior in relationships
  • Difficulty with social interactions

Outcomes of High-Risk Children Who Experience Adverse Childhood Experiences:

  • 50% more likely to face learning disorders requiring special education
  • 66% more likely to become involved with drugs or alcohol
  • 50% more likely to have school related problems
  • 40% more likely to become pregnant as a teenager
  • 25% more likely to drop out of school
  • 60% less likely to attend college
  • 59% more likely to become a juvenile delinquent
  • 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime
  • 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children

Source: [Barnett, W.S., & Masse, L.N. (2002); Swan, N. (1998); Campbell, F.A., et al. (2002); Widom, C., & Maxfield, M. (2001); Reynolds, A., et al. (2001) .

Persons who experienced childhood abuse and neglect have a 4 to 12-fold increased risk for the leading causes of death in adults such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes due to high risk coping behaviors such as alcohol, drug abuse, smoking and over-eating (Felitti, V. et al., 1998).


Our Mission

Our mission is to protect Texas children from the trauma of abuse and neglect and empower families to thrive through education, research, and advocacy. Our vision is that all children are safe, nurtured, and resilient. Learn more about the work we do. You can help protect Texas children from abuse & neglect. Find out how you can help.

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