What are some risk factors and protective factors with respect to child abuse? 

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Although it is not possible to predict with any certainty whether a given person is likely to abuse a child in a given situation, certain factors do point to greater or lesser risks.

In generally, people who have been abused as children are more likely to become abusers than those who had safe, secure, happy childhoods. Thus being a prior victim of abuse is a risk factor and a happy abuse-free childhood a protective factor.

Drugs and alcohol are major catalysts for child abuse, and drug addiction a major risk factor.

Abuse is more likely to be inflicted by young parents and parents in single-family households. Thus increasing parental age is a protective factor, as is a stable two parent household.