Economic issues must also be considered in evaluating long-term treatment costs and loss of earnings associated with the consequences of child victimization.
One analysis cited by the General Accounting Office that used prevalence and treatment rates generated from multiple studies (Daro, 1988) calculated potential fiscal costs resulting from child abuse estimates as follows: (1) Assuming a 20 percent delinquency rate among adolescent abuse victims, requiring an average of 2 years in a correctional institution, the public cost of their incarceration would be more than $14.8 million.
Research on child maltreatment can provide insights and knowledge that can directly benefit victims of child abuse and neglect and their families.
Individuals who have been victimized as a result of child maltreatment deserve to have research efforts dedicated to their experience, in the same manner as our society invests in scientific research for burn victims, victims of genetic or infectious diseases, or those who are subjected to other forms of trauma.
Research on general problems of violence, substance addiction, social inequality, unemployment, poor education, and the treatment of children in the social services system is incomplete without attention to child maltreatment issues.
Research on child maltreatment can play a key role in informing major social policy decisions concerning the services that should be made available to children, especially children in families or neighborhoods that experience significant stress and violence.Equally disturbing, research suggests that child maltreatment cases are highly related to social problems such as juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and violence, which require additional services and severely affect the quality of life for many American families.The challenges of conducting research in the field of child maltreatment are enormous.Research on child maltreatment can provide scientific information that will help with the solution of a broad range of individual and social disorders.Research in this field is demonstrating that experiences with child abuse and neglect are a major component of many child and adult mental and behavioral disorders, including delayed development, poor academic performance, delinquency, depression, alcoholism, substance abuse, deviant sexual behaviors, and domestic and criminal violence.Many forms of child abuse and neglect are treatable and avoidable, and many severe consequences of child maltreatment can be diminished with proper attention and assistance.Research on child abuse and neglect provides an opportunity for society to address, and ultimately prevent, a range of individual and social disorders that impair the health and quality of life of millions of America's children as well as their families and communities.As a nation, we already have developed laws and regulatory approaches to reduce and prevent childhood injuries and deaths through actions such as restricting hot water temperatures and requiring mandatory child restraints in automobiles.These important precedents suggest how research on risk factors can provide informed guidance for social efforts to protect all of America's children in both familial and other settings.The services required for children who have been abused or neglected, including medical care, family counseling, foster care, and specialized education, are expensive and are often subsidized by governmental funds.The General Accounting Office (1991) has estimated that these services cost more than 0 million annually.