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Dec/Jan 2006Vol. 6, No. 10Impact of Child Maltreatment on Adult Income and Employment

The effects of child abuse and neglect often last far into adulthood, and research has shown that there can even be socioeconomic impact for some adults abused as children. In the July 2005 issue of Policy Matters, D. S. Zielinski discusses some of these repercussions:

  • Twenty percent of unemployed adults report having been abused or neglected as children, compared to 13 percent of employed adults.
  • Child maltreatment victims are more than twice as likely as their nonmaltreated peers to fall below the Federal poverty level as adults.
  • This group is also more likely to complete less schooling than their peers.
  • Female victims of physical and sexual abuse are significantly more likely to use Medicaid than other adults.

The costs to society are discussed, and the author suggests that these costs could be reduced by:

  • Providing victims with health and mental health care
  • Providing increased educational support
  • Focusing resources on preventing child abuse and neglect

The article, "Long-Term Socioeconomic Impact of Child Abuse and Neglect: Implications for Public Policy," is available at