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The costs and Consequences of Child Maltreatment

Literature review for the NSPCC

This report is the first stage of a review of the costs and consequences of child maltreatment. It reviews a wide range of recent literature covering prevalence of different types of maltreatment of children and young people and the impact the maltreatment has on them. There is almost no literature covering costs, either in terms of the costs of the interventions or in terms of the costs of the consequences. Thus, the second stage of the review will combine the information from the literature review with other information about the impact on life chances of some of outcomes which are observed for children who have been maltreated. For example, maltreated children have poorer school performance than non maltreated children. The effect of this poor performance is likely to be similar to the effect of poor performance among other groups of children who have not been maltreated. The lifetime consequences of maltreatment are not therefore confined to the outcomes of maltreatment as identified in the literature. Rather, they include the consequential impact on their adult lives as well. This consequential impact has costs for the children themselves, for their families, and for the wider society, both in terms of ongoing support costs, and in terms of the costs of the behavioural consequences for a small minority.