Violence and Injury Prevention

Child maltreatment (child abuse)

Alex Swanepoel

Child maltreatment has enormous immediate and long-term repercussions. Beyond death, physical injury and disability, violence can lead to stress that impairs brain development and damages the nervous and immune systems. This in turn is associated with delayed cognitive development, poor school performance and dropout, mental health problems, suicide attempts, increased health-risk behaviours, revictimization and the perpetration of violence. The good news is that child maltreatment can be prevented through interventions that support parents and caregivers, promote non-violent norms and values, provide education and life skills training, strengthen families’ income and economic security, offer high quality response and support services, create and sustain safe environments for children, and implement and enforce laws against child maltreatment.

fact buffet

1 in 4 adults were physically abused as children


12%of children were sexually abused in past year

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37%of WHO Member States report implementing child sexual abuse prevention interventions on a larger scale

Global status report on violence prevention