Abuse can take many forms – neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and psychological abuse. Often, the victims are innocent children, but certainly include women and men. With 3 million reports of child abuse made every year in the United States involving 6 million children, the U.S. has the worst numbers amongst industrialized nations*. In addition, enduring childhood abuse can make that person much more likely to exhibit psychological disorders, substance abuse or criminal behavior as an adult.
The official or legal definition of neglect varies from state to state but all definitions revolve around a parent or caregiver endangering the wellbeing of a child or someone who is unable to care for his or herself. It may involve some combination of not providing health care, clothing, food or abandonment altogether. With 78.3% of child abuse reports indicating neglect in 2012, it is the most common form of reported abuse in the United States**.
Additionally, according to the U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Justice Programs, approximately 4.8 million intimate partner rapes and physical assaults are perpetrated against U.S. women annually, and approximately 2.9 million intimate partner physical assaults are omitted against U.S. men annually***.” Women ages 20-24 appear to be at greatest risk of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
Given those statistics, many people and families are impacted somehow, whether a victim of abuse or concerned that someone else may be suffering through abuse or the impact that abuse may have had. For example, a surprising number of children who witness intimate partner abuse develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
Many individuals who experience reoccurring abuse feel trapped. However, there is hope and a number of resources are available to assist, several of which we have provided here as well as additional information about abuse.
* Child Help: http://www.childhelp.org/pages/statistics
** Child Advocacy Resource and Consultation Center: http://www.nyscarcc.org/abuse/statistics.php
The above summary by WebPsychology.