Child abuse and neglect is the most prevalent health problem children face, with the most serious array of consequences. At least one in four children have experienced child abuse (including physical, emotional, and sexual) or neglect at some point in their lives, and one in seven children experienced abuse or neglect in the last year (Finkelhor D, Turner HA, Shattuck A, Hamby SL. Prevalence of childhood exposure to violence, crime, and abuse: Results from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence. JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(8), 746-754). This means that whether you work with youth, are a parent, or are simply a member of a community, it is highly likely that someone you know or care for has experienced, or is currently experiencing, child abuse and neglect.
Experiencing child abuse and neglect can lead to poor physical, psychological and behavioral consequences well into adulthood, with significant costs to our country.
We must prevent child abuse and neglect before it ever happens to ensure every child has a great childhood and becomes a productive member of our society. We all have a role to play in preventing child abuse and neglect.