Child abuse can have a lifelong impact on a child’s physical and mental health.
Some of the effects child abuse can have include.
Harm experienced in childhood can have significant and lasting effects and children can respond differently to what has occurred.
Children may experience a range of emotional, psychological and physical problems as a result of being harmed, including:
1. low self esteem
2. increased fear, guilt and self-blame
3. distrust of adults or difficulty forming relationships with others
4. disrupted attachments with those who are meant to keep them safe
5. mental health disorders such as anxiety, attachment, post-traumatic stress and depression disorders
6. self-harming or suicidal thoughts
7. learning disorders, including poor language and cognitive development
8. developmental delay, eating disorders and physical ailments
9. permanent physical injuries or death
10. violent, aggressive or criminal behaviour or other behavioural problems
11. drug and alcohol abuse and high-risk sexual behaviour.
12. negative effects on a child’s health, relationships and education
13. adults who were abused as children may find it harder to cope with life's stresses, get a good job, or be a good parent
15. mental health problems, drug or alcohol issues, criminal behaviour – or showing signs of harmful behaviour themselves.
It should be noted that for some children who have been abused, the impacts will not be evident in their behaviour.
Child abuse can have a devastating effect on a child’s beliefs, self-esteem, development and ability to function. Abuse often occurs repeatedly and involves more than one type, resulting in lifelong complications to a child’s mental and physical health.
The physical, emotional, and psychological effects of abuse on children and young adults may include the following:
Physical child abuse may result in minor injuries such as bruises or abrasions, or severe injuries such deep lacerations, broken bones, or internal bleeding. These physical injuries can also result in long-term emotional damage.
The impact on a child’s mental health can persist well into adulthood. Child abuse can result in mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.
Trauma from child abuse can result in the child having issues with trust, behavior, communication, and relationships. Victims may be aggressive, violent, and prone to drug and alcohol abuse or suicidal thoughts. They may have difficulty learning or holding onto a job. They may also deal with anxiety and constant fear.
Child abuse can affect a child’s brain development and cognitive abilities, causing difficulties with speech and language. Victims may have learning disorders or regression of skills or development.
Children who are abused and neglected are often fearful and have trust issues. They may have difficulty communicating and maintaining relationships. They may be insecure, anxious, aggressive, withdrawn, or clingy.
Child abuse can lead to behavioral issues during childhood and young adulthood. Victims may have emotional outbursts, changes in mood, changes in behavior, sadness, withdrawal, aggressiveness, violence, hyperactivity, bed-wetting, low self-esteem, etc. Some of these behaviors can continue into adulthood.
How Child Chapter working to support children
It’s never too late to help a child. Child abuse and its effects are preventable. We can work together to stop abuse happening and support children who have been abused.
If we work together to stop abuse happening and provide support to children who have been abused, we can turn things around for a child at any stage of their development - so they can go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives.
Child abuse can take many forms. It can be emotional, physical, sexual or neglect. And it can happen to any child, in any family, in any place or online.
Abuse often happens over a period of time, rather than as a one-off event, and can have a devastating effect on a child's development and society as a whole.
Our services support children and families throughout the country.
We help children to recover from abuse and get their lives back on track.
Support for families
We equip parents and carers with the knowledge, skills and support they need to protect their children from abuse.
Child Abuse Helpline
We run our Child Abuse helpline for any concerned child to turn to for confidential support.
We teach children that abuse is never their fault, and they can always speak out and get help.