Effects of child abuse
Harm experienced in childhood can have significant and lasting effects and children can respond differently to what has occurred.
Children may experience a range of emotional, psychological and physical problems as a result of being harmed, including:
- low self esteem
- increased fear, guilt and self-blame
- distrust of adults or difficulty forming relationships with others
- disrupted attachments with those who are meant to keep them safe
- mental health disorders such as anxiety, attachment, post-traumatic stress and depression disorders
- self-harming or suicidal thoughts
- learning disorders, including poor language and cognitive development
- developmental delay, eating disorders and physical ailments
- permanent physical injuries or death
- violent, aggressive or criminal behaviour or other behavioural problems
- drug and alcohol abuse and high-risk sexual behaviour.
It should be noted that for some children who have been abused, the impacts will not be evident in their behaviour.