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If you require assistance or would like to talk to a trained professional about the issues described in this paper, please call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you believe a child is in immediate danger call Police on 000.
For some adults, the effects of child abuse and neglect are chronic and debilitating, other adults have less adverse outcomes, despite their histories (Miller-Perrin & Perrin, 2007).
Critical factors that may influence the way child abuse and neglect affects adults include the frequency and duration of maltreatment and if more than one type of maltreatment has occurred.
Research suggests that adults, particularly women, who were victimised as children are at risk of re-victimisation in later life (Cannon, Bonomi, Anderson, Rivara, & Thompson 2010; Mouzos & Makkai, 2004; Whiting, Simmons, Havens, Smith, & Oka, 2009; Widom, Czaja, & Dutton, 2008).
Child abuse and neglect refers to any behaviour by parents, caregivers, other adults or older adolescents that is outside the norms of conduct and entails a substantial risk of causing physical or emotional harm to a child or young person.
Such behaviours may be intentional or unintentional and can include acts of omission (i.e., neglect) and commission (i.e., abuse) (Bromfield, 2005; Christoffel et al., 1992; Gilbert et al., 2009).
Experiencing abuse and neglect in childhood can lead to adverse outcomes in adulthood.
The purpose of this resource is to indicate the potential long-term effects of child abuse and neglect that may extend into adulthood.
Oliver (1993), in a review of the research literature, concluded that an estimated one-third of children who are subjected to child abuse and neglect go on to repeat patterns of abusive parenting towards their own children.