What are the Different Types of Child Abuse?

Child abuse and neglect contribute to a real health crisis in the United States and around the world. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), “at least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year, and this is likely an underestimate.”

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have a long-term impact on the health, opportunity and well-being of children and can continue into adulthood if not properly addressed. To better understand this public health problem and what is being done to help children who experience abuse, it’s important to define the different types of abuse.

Common Types of Child Abuse and Neglect

These are the four most common types of child abuse and neglect as defined by the CDC:

With definitions for the different types of child abuse and neglect, an understanding of the factors and consequences of abuse is important to determine appropriate ways to address future health needs of children. 

Factors that Contribute to Child Abuse

Not having the means to pay for basic food, shelter, utilities and housing needs is stressful for parents, guardians and caregivers. This can lead to child abuse and neglect. In fact, the CDC states that rates of child abuse and neglect are “five times higher for children in families with low socio-economic status compared to children in families with higher socio-economic status.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists several other factors that contribute to parents, guardians and caregivers perpetrating child abuse and neglect. These include:

The Consequences of Abuse

The physical injuries of cuts and bruises and broken bones are only one consequence of abuse. The emotional trauma can create severe barriers to appropriate social-emotional development and contribute to increased anxiety in children.

Untreated, the residual after-effects of abuse can manifest as lifelong health issues. Substance abuse, vulnerability to further abuse and victimization, difficulty learning, delayed brain development, and the inability to gain and maintain employment can all result from childhood abuse.

Local Support

The San Diego Foundation supports programs in our region that help children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Here are ways we’re making a difference in the San Diego region:

Learn more about The San Diego Foundation Early Childhood Initiative.

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