Impact of Child Abuse and Neglect on Child Development

Abuse and neglect cause a severe and long-lasting effect on a child’s physical, emotional and mental health. Sadly, even in the United States, child abuse cases recur yearly, and thousands of children live under these adverse circumstances.

         As you peer into this problem, you immediately want to know how to care for these children living in abuse and neglect. You also want to know when a child is prone to abuse and how will such an experience impact their lives.

This article provides insight into the world of abused and neglected children, how the abuse impacts their lives, and the steps to help them.

It discusses helping kids out of these dangerous situations and heal from the physical, emotional, and mental difficulties they’ve experienced. This write-up also gives situations where children might be prone to abuse.

Child abuse comes in many forms, yet all result in one outcome: depriving a child of the right to live a happy life. There are cases where abused and neglected children become prone to mental trauma and rare, severe diseases like mesothelioma. 

Some kids become prone to asbestos because of poor living conditions, in houses not stripped clean from materials that may contain this cancerous substance.

Although mesothelioma often takes decades to develop after asbestos exposure, it’s better to be well-informed by visiting sites like, which contains valuable resources about this rare cancer.

The World of Children Under Abuse

When you see children under abuse, you always feel the weight of their difficulties, and it’s heartbreaking. Abused children experience physical, emotional, and mental harm that can lead to long-term problems they deal with throughout their lives.

         Children who experience abuse may have difficulty creating new relationships because of trust issues. These young individuals must receive support and help to heal from their ordeals and overcome the trauma they’ve experienced.

         In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC reported that 1 in 7 children had experienced abuse or neglect. Still, CDC fears that the numbers were inaccurate as many cases remain unreported.

Neglect happens in all settings, but it’s more predominant in poverty-stricken areas. The child abuse rate in impoverished areas is five times higher compared to other families with higher socioeconomic status.

The U.S. government also experiences the burden associated with child abuse. In 2018, an estimated $592 billion was spent on child abuse rehabilitation.

Child abuse may lead to severe problems affecting their quality of life if left without care or intervention. Problems typically linked to child abuse are the following:

  • Immediate physical injuries like cuts, bruises, and fractures
  • Anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Increased risk of experiencing future violence or perpetration of violence
  • Substance abuse
  • Sexually-transmitted diseases
  • Delayed brain development
  • Limited employment opportunities
  • Low educational attainment and learning difficulties
  • Attention and memory difficulties

Child Care Starts With Awareness

         You can be part of the solution to prevent child abuse by raising awareness. The solution has to be intentional to give children the proper care and support they need.

The Department of Children and Family Service of the State of Illinois has provided tips on how to spot possible abuse in children.

         These are some general warning signs you should be aware of in a suspected case of child abuse:

  • Shows sudden behavior changes at home and in school
  • No help coming from parents
  • Always agitated
  • Constantly in fear that something not good is going to happen
  • Has little to no adult supervision
  • Wears long or concealing clothes

         Aside from these general warning signs, there are other signs that you should consider.

  • Physical abuse: Most of these cases involve unexplained injuries, afraid of parents or specific people, and is in fear of adults.
  • Sexual abuse: Signs of this kind of abuse include sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy at an early age, explicit sexual knowledge, nightmares, and difficulty sitting and walking. 
  • Emotional abuse: Signs of this kind include a lack of connection with parents, extremes in behavior like overly aggressive and infantile behavior, and delayed emotional development.
  • Child neglect: Signs of this kind of abuse include absence from school and lacking basic needs like food, health care, and hygiene—lack of parental care and supervision.

         Aside from being aware of the warning signs, you need a working support system to provide care and support for children who have experienced abuse and prevent it from happening to others.

         Here are some ways to help protect children from exploitation and abuse and provide a safe environment for all.

  • Show love and attention to your child: Listen, nurture, and get involved in your child’s life and development. You can develop trust and improve your kid’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth through this.
  • Don’t react or respond in anger: Refrain from taking out your anger on your kids. Stress and anger can leave an indelible mark on your child’s emotions. Talk with a healthcare provider or therapist to resolve those issues.
  • Always provide supervision: Don’t leave young children alone at home. When in public places, ensure to keep an eye on your kids. You should also encourage your kids to stay away from strangers. Instead, tell them to always be with their friends and avoid being alone.
  • Educate your kids about online safety: Place your child’s computer or laptop in a common area, not in their rooms. Use parental controls to regulate websites that can be easily visited and check your kid’s social network communications.
  • Involve the community and reach out: Meet other families in your community. Develop a network of support from your family and the neighborhood.


  1. Child Abuse

  1. Tips for Recognizing Child Abuse

  1. Fast Facts: Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect