Child neglect cited as equal to physical or sex abuse

Sydney Morning Herald December 27, 2010
CHILD neglect can be just as harmful to children’s cognitive development as physical and sexual abuse, a new study shows. But child protection authorities do not treat neglect with the same urgency as other forms of child maltreatment. The study of almost 4000 children aged 14 revealed that those with a history of reported abuse or neglect scored on average three IQ points lower than children who had not been maltreated. And the children who had been neglected did just as poorly as children with a history of physical or sexual abuse. Ryan Mills, a paediatrician and co-author of the study, said child protection systems struggled to deal with chronic cases of neglect. ”But neglect needs to be given equal attention because its long-term effects are at least as severe as physical or sexual abuse,” he said.