Child Abuse and Maltreatment/Neglect: Identification and Reporting
New York State Mandatory Training

Protective Factors for Child Abuse and Maltreatment


Who Are the Mandated Reporters?

Abuse and Maltreatment/Neglect Have Many Presentations

The Disturbing Statistics

Legal Definitions Related to Child Maltreatment

Recognizing Child Abuse

Case Studies: Identifying Abuse

Risk Factors Contributing to Child Abuse and Maltreatment

The Consequences of Child Abuse

Perpetrators of Child Abuse

Talking with Children

Reporting Child Abuse and Maltreatment

Reasonable Cause/When to Report

How to Report

What Happens After a Report is Made

The Abandoned Infant Protection Act




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Child abuse prevention programs have long focused on reducing particular risk factors. However, increasingly, prevention services are also recognizing the importance of promoting protective factors: conditions in families and communities that research has shown to increase the health and well-being of children and families. These factors help parents who might otherwise be at risk of abusing or neglecting their children to find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress (CWIG, 2008).

Child Protective Factors

Resilience is a concept that has been identified as an important protective factor among children who have been abused or maltreated. Research has identified that resilience was found to be related to personal characteristics that included a child's ability to: recognize danger and adapt, distance oneself from intense feelings, create relationships that are crucial for support, and project oneself into a time and place in the future in which the perpetrator is no longer present.

Additional protective factors include (CWIG, 2008; CDC, 2007a):

  • Good health, history of adequate development
  • Above-average intelligence
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Good peer relationships
  • Personality factors such as an easy-going temperament
  • Positive disposition
  • Active coping style
  • Positive self-esteem
  • Good social skills
  • Internal locus of control
  • A balance between help seeking and autonomy

Parental/Family Protective Factors

Resilience is also a protective factor for parents. Parents who are emotionally resilient have a positive attitude, creatively problem solve, effectively address challenges, and are less likely to direct anger and frustration at their children (CWIG, 2008).

  • Secure attachment with children; positive and warm parent-child relationship
  • Supportive family environment
  • Parents have come to terms with own history of abuse
  • Household rules/structure; parental monitoring of child
  • Extended family support and involvement, including caregiving help
  • Stable relationship with parents
  • Parents have a model of competence and good coping skills
  • Family expectations of pro-social behavior
  • High parental education

Community Protective Factors

  • Mid to high socioeconomic status
  • Access to health care and social services
  • Consistent parental employment
  • Adequate housing
  • Family religious faith participation
  • Good schools
  • Supportive adults outside of family who serve as role models/mentors to child

Societal Protective Factors

  • Families with two married parents encounter more stable home environments, fewer years in poverty, and diminished material hardship
  • Supportive institutions in the society such as good child care and healthcare

Continue on to The Consequences of Child Abuse