What Does Abuse do to Children?


            Is it real?

Effects Abuse could have on children

            Long term Effect of Abuse

            How big is the problem?

Is it real?

Children who have been neglected, physically, sexually and/or emotionally abused not only suffer a wide range of effects from their victimization, but are at greater risk to be abused again.

There are both short and long term consequences due to abuse. Each child's  experience of abuse consequences are different even if the abuse situation seems similar. There are many factors for this. These factors depend on the child's situation and abuse circumstances. Some of the main factors are:


  • The Childs age: The younger the child's age when the abuse happen, the more sever the damage is.

  • The abuser: The closer the abuser to the child the more complicated the situation become. It depends on the level of trust the child used to give the abuser.

  • Have the child talked about the abuse experience with anyone? and if he or she did what was the reaction? If the child received punishment, doubt or feel of guilt, then this is more damaging and painful than the abuse itself.

  • Was any violence included in the abuse and if so on what level?

  • How long was the abuse? Was it only one time, once every now and then or on a regular bases that may go for years?

  • Did the abuser try to humiliate the child during the abuse?

  • To what level does the family and the society accept this type of abuse? Is it classified under "normal"?

  • Does the child feel being loved by some one in the family? Does the child feel being loved by any one at all?


Effects Abuse could have on children

Abuse have many short and long term consequences on the children. It commonly produces feelings of:



         Loss of control.

         Lowered self-esteem.

Even those whom seem to be handling their abuse are concerned that:

         It might happen again.

         They did something wrong.

         Future relationships might be abusive.

            Long term Effect of Abuse

Child Abuse problems and pain does not finish by the completion of the abuse process. It may go as long and the child life goes on. Common problems for abused children include:

         Emotional problems.

         Behavioral problems.

         Poor performance in school.

         Further abuse.


While these effects are not always obvious, they are important.

Long-term studies of low achievers, runaways, drug abusers, prostitutes and incarcerated individuals paint a disturbing picture. Abuse is a consistent and pervasive element in their backgrounds. Low self-esteem and poor self-concept are ever-present.

Knowing this, there can be little doubt that children whom are abused, as well as adults who were abused as children, need assistance to resolve the pain that the abuse experience has raised, even if that assistance does not come until years after the abuse.

        How big is the problem?

For too many children, child abuse is what they know every day of their lives. Although not every child who is abused have problems of this magnitude, but we know child abuse robs far too many children of their ability to freely reach their full potential or even live as a normal child. Their loss is society's loss and the lack of protection and healing programs are inadequate to address this epidemic.

Community resistance to prevention programs has fallen away as awareness has increased and as programs have become more appropriate to the developmental needs and abilities of children. The need is obvious but most communities have no consistent program to teach young children the skills they need to reduce their vulnerability to abuse. The "Be free" project is a prevention approach which provides communities, schools, families and children with a unique and powerful tool for addressing this need.