Child Abuse and Neglect
What Increases the Risk
A risk factor is anything that makes you more likely to have a certain problem or disease.
Risk factors for parents and caregivers
People are more likely to abuse or neglect children if they:
- Are living in poverty or near poverty. This is a major risk factor for child abuse and neglect.
Have a history of:
- Violence, including domestic violence.
- Drug or alcohol abuse.
- Abusing children, or having been abused themselves.
- Mental health problems, such as depression.
- Have little knowledge about how children grow and what to expect from them.
- Have a high stress level that is not managed well. This often includes being a single or teen parent or having several young children close in age.
- Don't have good support. A parent or caregiver who doesn't have financial, emotional, and other types of support may have to deal with a variety of hardships alone.
Risk factors for children
The risk of abuse and neglect increases when a child has a disability or other health issue, such as:
- Being a premature baby. Babies born early often add emotional and financial stress to a family because they need longer and more expensive hospital care. They may also need to be watched closely once they are home.
- A physical disability, such as blindness or being confined to a wheelchair.
- Reference Below-normal intelligence Opens New Window.
- Reference Developmental delays Opens New Window.
- A difficult Reference temperament Opens New Window.
- Behavioral problems, such as Reference ADHD Opens New Window.
Another risk factor for children is not having a close bond with parents. Not having a close bond may be caused by:
- Parents not wanting the child.
- The birth of twins or other multiples.
- A long hospitalization of the newborn and separation from parents because of premature birth or health problems.
- Challenges related to fostering or adopting a child.
- Mental health problems in a caregiver. For example, a parent who is severely depressed may unintentionally neglect his or her child.
- A child with a major health problem or disability, such as blindness, deafness, or Reference autism Opens New Window. These types of problems can make it hard for a parent to communicate with the child or for the child to give and receive affection.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 12, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics