During the 2017 Justice Conference, several points and discussions were raised regarding violence against children. One of the critical topics discussed was how maltreatment affected a child’s way of living. Children are one of the most vulnerable members of our society, and they must be shielded with rights and protection to prevent future abuses.
Here are some effects of maltreatment on children.
Harmful Coping Mechanisms And Behaviors
Long-term maltreatment, such as physical, sexual, and psychological violence, may cause a child to resort to different coping mechanisms. They are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and use drugs, among others. A child may also experience psychological problems such as anxiety, and depression, and suicide ideation.
Brain Development Impairment
Studies show that prolonged child abuse may lead to impairments in intellectual development, such as verbal intelligence. Problems in school, like low grades and poor performance during class activities, are some of the evident findings in maltreated children. Early maltreatment may also result in the damage of the central nervous system, which is essential in child development.
High-Risk Sexual Behavior
Children who experienced sexual abuse may tend to adopt high-risk sexual behaviors. On the six studies conducted regarding sexually-abused preschoolers, 35% of them showed inappropriate sexual behaviors toward their peers. These behaviors may lead to unwanted pregnancies, abortion, and reproductive health problems such as sexually transmitted diseases and gynecological issues.
Severe Injuries And Death
Children cannot defend themselves physically when they are abused or maltreated in their own homes. According to the World Health Organization, homicide is one of the top three causes of deaths in children and adolescents, with 80% of victims being boys. Some causes of death include battering, stabbing, strangulation, and drowning. There are also reports that children sustain severe physical injuries because of assault.
Child maltreatment can be prevented. Several programs are beneficial for both the child and the parents. The earlier the intervention, the lesser the chances of these effects taking place in the child’s life and persisting until they grow up. Many programs from the government and humanitarian organizations are useful in informing parents about children’s rights and the possible sanctions if they violated these rights.