Child abuse

Abuse of children may be physical, sexual, and/or emotional. In recent years, there has been increased awareness of child abuse, and its actual frequency may also have increased. Up to 5 per cent of children are reported to professional agencies because of suspected abuse.

Most child abuse is carried out by the parents. Such parents are typically young, immature, and poor, and were abused during their own childhood. The 'cycle of abuse' is a phrase which expresses this tendency for abuse to run in families. A small minority is mentally ill. There is a raised incidence of factors likely to impair bonding between parents and child: unwanted pregnancy, complications during pregnancy or birth, separations between parents and child, and ill health in the child.

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