Long-Term Effects of Abuse on Children

14th of April 2021

Child Abuse Prevention

Every ten seconds a report is made on child abuse. To build awareness of this issue, Child Abuse Prevention Month was created in April of 1979 by Child Help founders Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson and joined by legendary actress Sophia Loren. The Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) takes this issue very seriously and in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, CFA would like to call attention to the dreadful long-term effects of abuse on children and bring light to the efforts we make to support these children.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), four common types of abuse are physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglectWhen a child experiences traumatic events due to any of the four common types of abuse, they are referred to as having adverse childhood experiences (ACE)ACEs have been linked to negative effects in long-term health and wellbeing of a child. For example, ACEs can lead to a Toxic Stress Response which the Center for Youth Wellness reported to “disrupt the development of brain architecture and other organ systems, and increase the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment, well into the adult years. If left unaddressed, toxic stress can affect growth, learning, behavior, immunity and even the way DNA is read and transcribed. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that if left untreated child abuse, neglect and other ACEs “increases the risks of injury, future violence victimization and perpetration, substance abuse, sexually transmitted infections, delayed brain development, lower educational attainment, and limited employment opportunities.” The weight of abuse is carried throughout a child’s life and when left untreated can continue to weigh on them and negatively effect their day to day lives.  

In a study done by Child Welfare, the following are possible signs that may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect: 

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance 
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention 
  • Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes 
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen 
  • Lacks adult supervision 
  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn 
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home 

CFA has supported thousands of children who have been victims to abuse and continues to provide support to programs that advocate for children’s issues and community-based organizations that assist trauma-endured children in healing, so they can develop into adults with a bright future. CFA supports these children through our yearly campaigns and monthly through our “Birthday-ina-Bag” campaign. Our mission is to provide an opportunity for every person to join us in helping children heal, learn, and thrive 

How You Can Help

Get Involved by volunteering! Contact bcalderon@trinityys.org or (909) 426-0773 ext. 236. 

Donate to our support children affected by abuse, neglect or abandonment here.

Become a Resource Parent by filling out an application with our partners at Trinity Youth Services.

Take the Pledge to #StopChildAbuse. Copy and paste the following text into your own social media with a photo of yourself raising your hand signaling to “STOP” child abuse.

I pledge to help #StopChildAbuse because every child deserves to be loved, cared for, and kept safe. I will engage in discussions with family and friends on the importance of child abuse prevention. I will support and advocate for policies and programs that promote healthy families. I will learn to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect. I will take any child’s claims of maltreatment seriously. I will report all suspected incidents to the appropriate county’s Child Protection Services.

For information on where to call or how to make a report, contact the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453).

Join me and the Children’s Foundation of America in taking the pledge to #StopChildAbuse. Copy and paste this text to post to your own social media with a photo lifting your hand to STOP child abuse.


Isabel Millward-Pena
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Prior to her work at CFA, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.

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