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The Basics

Child abuse and neglect affects countless families across the country, regardless of geography, ethnicity, or income. Adverse Childhood Experiences can not only harm a child while young, but have a significant impact on social and health issues later in life as an adult. Thankfully, safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are shown to help families thrive and prevent child abuse and neglect.

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Risk Factors

Research shows that a combination of individual, relational, community, and societal factors contribute to the risk of experiencing child abuse and neglect. For example, some risk factors include parental history of child abuse or neglect, limited parenting knowledge or skills, and families and communities experiencing social isolation and violence.

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Protective Factors

Research is helping identify factors that help reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. Nurturing, safe, and stable family relationships, supportive communities, and access to health and social services, are promising protective factors.

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Child abuse and neglect are associated with both short- and long-term consequences. Children may suffer immediate physical injuries as well as emotional and psychological problems. As children grow into adulthood, they are at increased risk for heart disease, cancer, smoking, suicide, and other leading causes of illness and death.

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Essentials for Childhood Framework

Essentials for Childhood is designed to help communities through strategies to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. The steps suggested in the Essentials for Childhood Framework — along with your commitment to preventing child abuse and neglect —can help create neighborhoods, communities, and a world in which every child can thrive.


More information from CDC and credible sources can support your efforts to stop violence before it starts. Explore these resources to help start, guide, and strengthen your approach to improving the health and well-being of people and the community where they live.

* The titles of these documents changed in July 2023 to align with other Prevention Resources being developed by CDC's Injury Center. The original titles are noted in each document's suggested citation section.


Innovative and ongoing research gives the evidence and insight needed to prevent violence. Consult these trusted data sources to better assess how risk and protective factors influence people’s lives and impact where they live, work, and play.

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  • Child Health Statistics

    CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics provides information on the health status of children in the United States.

  • National Violent Death Reporting System

    CDC has funded 50 states and territories and established the National Violent Death Reporting System to link information about the “who, when, where, and how” from data on violent deaths and provides insights about “why” they occurred. This enables policy makers and community leaders to make informed decisions about violence prevention programs, including those that address sexual violence and intimate partner violence.


    Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) is an interactive database that provides national injury-related morbidity and mortality data.

  • Administration for Children and Families

    The Administration for Children and Families provides state and national data on child abuse and neglect. Their findings are summarized each year in an annual report.

Published Date: July 22, 2019; Last Reviewed: Sept 15, 2023

Source: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention