Statistics, advice and more for parents, teens and onlookers. Learn the signs and what you can do to help a child or teen who is being or was abused by a relative or caregiver.
Traumatic experiences during the teen years can set the stage for a number of emotional, behavioral challenges. Sometimes, the highest form of emotional trauma stems from either physical or emotional abuse at the hands of a parent, caregiver, or parent or caregiver’s partner.
Even though younger children under the age of one may be most vulnerable to instances of abuse, teens can become victims just the same. Twelve per 1,000 of all reported maltreatment cases in 2017 involved victims between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. The scope of the problem is huge but grossly underreported with older children who may be less likely to speak up or may not get direct attention from family members, educators, or otherwise.
The National Children’s Alliance and Department of Human Services offer an alarming look at the numbers associated with child abuse and neglect in the United States.
1 of 100 children is abused
Among all substantiated cases in 2019, 84.5 percent of abused children were mistreated in only one way; more than 15 percent sustained at least two types of abuse. At least 61 percent of cases involved neglect and 10.3 percent sustain physical abuse due to things like physical violence or domestic violence.
Even though emotional abuse is often classified as “other” under forms of abuse, one study did find that about 1 child per 1,000 was reported as victims of emotional or psychological abuse or verbal abuse in 2017.
Abuse within a teen’s home can bring about devastating implications for the individual’s mental health. Children who have been abused can have substantially higher risks of developing depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, conduct disorders, substance use disorders, unhealthy sexual activities, and other outward problems can stem from traumatic stress in children and teens.
Take a look at some warning signs and behavioral difficulties teens may portray if they are dealing with some level of abuse or neglect at home.
While these general signs can be red flags that abuse is taking place, some signs can be more dependent on the type of abuse being experienced at home.
Abuse in a home environment can be such a tedious and complex situation. As an onlooker, you never truly understand the full dynamics of an abusive situation, but taking steps to make sure the teen is okay is vital.
As a teen dealing with abuse at home, reaching out for help can seem like a tough thing to do, but so many people are willing to step in and help. Sometimes, even parents themselves may need help because they, too, are caught in abusive relationships themselves or know they may not be treating the teen as they should. Here are a few resources to keep in mind for caregivers and parents, concerned onlookers, and teens in an abusive situation.
The more we all know as caregivers, parents, educators, and as a society about traumatic experiences caused by abuse, the more we can work to make a difference. If you suspect a teen you know is being abused or is affected by a traumatic event, take action by reaching out to your local child welfare agency or authorities. Take the time to share this valuable information in your social media feed to help raise awareness of a very real problem.
If you are a survivor of emotional or physical abuse or neglect and would like to share your story, we’d love to hear it! Simply fill out the form on our website to share your experience to encourage others who may be facing trauma due to abuse.