Child abuse: causes and effects


Animo Jefferson counselor Laura Gutierrez.

interview audio

Many people do not realize that child abuse is very common and harmful for children. Child abuse can lead to negative effects in their life when older. According to, there are about 2.9 million cases reported each year in the United States. So just imagine how many cases there are in the whole world.   


Children sometimes don’t say anything since they don’t want to be separated from their families. These children don’t want to be sent somewhere where they won’t be with their parents since they don’t want to be separated from people they grew up with. It is sad to hear about these cases of children getting abused by their parents/guardian since at times the abuse toward the children can end in a terrible situation and can sometimes even end in death.


These children might not be able to know what love is due to their abuse when young. They might not have felt loved from the parent or from whoever they got the abuse from. These children might think they are not good enough and might think they have no value and these people might make them feel worthless or even useless. These children need to be with someone who would make them feel good and not worthless. These children have suffered a lot. When they go to foster care or somewhere else where they would be “safe,” they might have a better life or might end up with a worse family than the one they had.



When a child is going through abuse, there are many effects that come with it. For example, according to school counselor Laura Gutierrez, they may have trust issues, anger issues, depression, anxiety, low academics, etc. The reason why some parents might abuse their children is because some parents might lack parental skills, they do not have the resources to take care of their children, they might live in poverty, and sometimes they might have their own mental issues and put if off on their child. In some cases, family may use some type of substance and then that affects the way that they treat their kids. Sometimes if people do not get the support that they need, they will most likely make bad decisions of their own and maybe even when they have their own children they might be abusive towards them since that was how they were treated. 


Some of the parents neglect their child, not because they might want to but because the parent might have to be working, according to school psychologist Cecilia Leyva.  Sometimes when a kid is not getting enough attention they will make stories up or do behaviors in order to get the attention they want. Sometimes what often happens is that the parent does not have enough support. 


“…So like maybe a child that was very social and would play and talk to other kids and is now like sitting in the corner not talking to anybody. You could see that there was a change but you can’t jump into conclusion either so it is really hard to detect,”  said Levya. It’s important to refer to other sources and try to get enough information so that you don’t jump to conclusion and instead get the true facts.


When children are abused they are more likely to not be doing well in school or have low academics. This will have a big impact on the child because their career will be on the line. They might not be as successful in life which can also lead them to depression, stress, and/or anxiety. If they already had these issues then it may or may not lead to a bigger issue.  When they have their own children, they may put all of their anger towards them. They may have to live in poverty due to this issue. This cycle may not end until they seek help.


In other words, the children that were abused can have some mental or physical issues. They will have to seek help so they can overcome this hardship so they will be able to strive in life and in their career.  People should understand that even if a child lies about being abused and says it didn’t happen, it is because they don’t want to be separated from their loved ones or the people that they call family because they don’t want to be alone.


Gabriel Fernandez was eight years old when he was beaten to death by his mom and her boyfriend. Gabriel’s mother had first left him in the hospital when he was born, so he was given to his uncle, who was gay, and after that to his grandparents. His mother was also introduced to drugs at a young age and was sexually abused herself.


Gabriel was the smallest of three children. He was always abused by his mom and her boyfriend with a bat and BB gun. They used to force him to wear two dresses, which were the only clothes that were hung up while also his other clothes were under a sink. He used to sleep in a closet and wasn’t allowed out.  They made him starve and fed him cat litter, and while he was in the closet he could not even come out to use the bathroom nor could he communicate with others and play outside with friends.


His mother’s boyfriend got the death penalty and his mother got a life sentence in jail. Gabriel used to always tell his mom he would do better and used to always say he loved his mom. No children should be treated this way. It’s really sad that a mother would abuse her child and the child would end up dead. 


At the end of the day, no child should be treated with abuse and neglect. These children have a life ahead of them in which they would still remember everything they went through. Sometimes this abuse will cause children to stay traumatized and sometimes they could treat their children the same way. 


Cases of abuse could sometimes end in a tragic way.  These children need to be in a better place where they’re going to be safe from everything they have been through.