Child abuse and neglect is a violation of child rights.  Children who are defenseless must be protected by society, because 90% of the time, perpetrators are someone in the child’s family.   Government programs for child protection, laws to enforce abuse as criminal behavior, multidisciplinary professionals trained with best practices, collaboration within child protection agencies (law, medical and mental health) to minimize re-victimizing the child, and funding to support treatment and services for families are critical parts of the public health solution to this problem.

The impacts of child abuse and neglect are debilitating and cause lifelong health, emotional, and relationship issues.  Adverse childhood experience are all the negative exposures that are proven to impact a child’s development, brain chemistry, and attachment.  The consequences are both immediate and long lasting, and very difficult to treat.  ISPCAN equips professionals with the specialized tools, information, and connection to other professionals in this underdeveloped field to help bring data, best practices and a shared community of learning. Systems of care must adapt to recognize, prevent and treat child abuse.

What are the long-term health outcomes of child abuse?

Childhood abuse has been associated with a plethora of psychological and somatic symptoms, as well as psychiatric and medical diagnoses including depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain syndromes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and irritable bowel.  Compared with non-abused adults, those who experienced childhood abuse are more likely to engage in high-risk health behaviors including smoking, alcohol and drug use, and unsafe sex;  to report an overall lower health status; and to use more health services.

Source: An Overview and a Call to Action from the Journal of  General Internal Medicine in 2003 Oct. by Kristen W Springer, et al.