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The Problem: violence and child abuse are significant blights on our society

There is a direct link between abuse in childhood and later problems for the whole community as well as the people who have suffered.

In some cases, Violence to children can lead them to become violent themselves when they grow up, or to being willing to live as victims of violence (because it is ‘normal’ to them and thus feeds into the cycle of child abuse and violence).

Some facts:

  • Violence increased massively in the UK between the 1950s and the early 2000s.
  • One in five children today have experienced serious physical abuse, sexual abuse or severe physical or emotional neglect at some point in their lifetime; and for every child subject to a child protection plan or on a child protection register in the UK, the NSPCC estimate that there are likely to be around eight other children who have suffered maltreatment.’ Reference: NSPCC (2013) ‘How safe are our children?
  • Around 30-40% of abused children go on to abuse their own children when they grow up.
  • The peak age for child abuse is 0-1.
  • The ones who don’t turn out to be violent can often suffer depression, which can cause them to neglect their own children.
  • Being neglected in childhood significantly increases the risk of later criminal behaviour.
  • Besides violence and depression, bad experience in childhood produces a huge range of health problems later, including far higher than ‘normal’ levels of: addiction; alcoholism; cancer; depression and suicide; heart, lung, liver and kidney disease.
  • The same bad experiences can lead to poor educational achievements and high levels of unemployment and poverty.
  • Child victims not only suffer appallingly, they are more likely than those who do not suffer to be a drain on the community when they grow up.
  • Domestic violence also perpetuates damaging family cycles. In addition to causing appalling suffering to the immediate victims, the 750,000 children in the UK who witness domestic violence every year are put at risk of later becoming perpetrators or victims themselves.
  • Find out what we can do about violence and get involved to help us end violence and child abuse.