Child Abuse and Neglect

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  • The physical, emotional, or sexual mistreatment of a person typically under 18 years of age. Cases of child abuse occur most frequently in the home and are most common in single-parent households or blended families. However, children can be abused outside the home, by acquaintances or, less commonly, by strangers. Victims of child abuse are at risk of developing low self-esteem; anxiety; eating, personality, or sleep disorders; other psychiatric problems (such as posttraumatic stress disorder, withdrawal, deviant behavior, aggression); and a plethora of other behavioral problems. Neglect and abuse can also lead to physical injury and, in severe cases, death. The exact cause of child abuse is not known, but many abusers have themselves been previously victimized. Sociological, psychological, or biological factors contribute to the ...

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