Child Maltreatment by way of emotional abuse, neglect, physical and sexual abuse is common in the world. In the UK at least 10% of children have suffered one or more of these forms of maltreatment or abuse and in the USA five children die each day from abuse.
Parents and caregivers are responsible for caring for their children and there are instances where this just does not happen. Children who have been traumatised in their life by maltreatment are more likley to present as aggressive or very anxious or very withdrawn to health professionals, social workers and teachers. Children adapt in different ways to their home circunsatnces and teachers abd other professionals working with these children will pick up on their attachment behaviours which are also present in other relationships with peers and family members.
In adolesence a proportion of young people who have been maltreated present with severe depression with persistent suicidal ideation and self harm, suicide attmepts or voices.Engagaement with mental health professionals in therapy and medication may alleviate symtpoms, but if maltreatment continues then such work may appear not to work for the young person.
Young people experiencing maltreatment may experience great distress and suffereing and find ways to escape through alcohol and drug misuse, running away, criminal behaviour or promiscuity. These strategies alos place these young people at risk from on line exploitation and risk from gang exploitation within their local community. Both are likley to happen if the support form the home is weakened by maltreatment.
There are instances in these complex situations when we can link with a young person who has enough personal resilience to navigate the crisis and find the courage to survive it and move on with life. Sometime we see young people who apeear to find claiming their independence from childhood maltreatment too difficult.