Child abuse is a relational disorder. Physical abuse and neglect most often occur during childhood transitional periods, such as the postnatal period, early childhood and early adolescence, which are often marked by family instability. The dynamic influence of stress related to social and economic deprivation also affects the risk for child abuse. Sexual abuse is influenced by family factors and stress. However, unlike physical abuse and neglect, sexual abuse is premeditated.

General Characteristics of Perpetrators

Intergenerational transmission of child abuse is common but not inevitable. Though estimates vary, approximately 30 percent of parents who were abused and neglected in childhood will victimize their own children, with the likelihood of abuse increasing with the severity of the parents’ own maltreatment in childhood. There tends to be a type-to-type ...

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