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).
- Violence increased massively in the UK between the 1950s and the early 2000s.
- The NSPCC estimated that over 2 million children are abused and over 2.5 million are neglected each year in the UK (Cawson et al, Child Maltreatment in the United Kingdom, NSPCC, 2000)
- 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:
- Heart, lung, liver and kidney disease
- The same bad experiences can lead to poor educational achievements and high levels of unemployment.
- Child victims not only suffer appallingly, they are more likely as adults to be a drain on the community than those who do not suffer.
- Domestic violence also perpetuates the cycle of violence. 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.