Child maltreatment is a significant public health concern. Victims of child abuse and neglect can suffer from physical injury and psychological harm. Many children even die from deliberate and unintentional harm.
The effects of child maltreatment can extend into adulthood. Negative impacts on social, emotional, and physical health can last a lifetime. Child maltreatment can harm brain development and the nervous and immune systems, increasing the risk for health problems as children grow into adults. Research has shown that some of the nation’s leading causes of illness and death, such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, obesity, smoking and suicide, are associated with child maltreatment.
The reality is that children cannot thrive in environments where they do not feel safe. Families cannot maintain healthy relationships in homes that are not stable. And, communities cannot flourish under the economic burden of addressing the short- and long-term health conditions associated with child maltreatment.
By understanding the consequences of child maltreatment, together we can work to prevent it. For more information, please visit CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention website.