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

Risk Factors Contributing to 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

Protective Factors for Child Abuse and Maltreatment

The Consequences of Child Abuse

Talking with Children

Reporting Child Abuse and Maltreatment

Reasonable Cause/When to Reportt

How to Report

What Happens After a Report is Made

The Abandoned Infant Protection Act




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There are many risk factors for how child abuse occurs.  These include risk factors within the child, within the parent and in society in general. According to national report Child Maltreatment 2013, poverty and low socio-economic status have been identified in research as a risk factor for child maltreatment (USDHHS-ACFY, 2015).  Domestic violence or intimate partner violence within the family also is a risk factor of child maltreatment.  When anger is used as a means of power and control, all members of the family are at risk.

Child Risk Factors

  • Premature birth,
  • Birth anomalies,
  • Low birth weight,
  • Exposure to toxins in utero
  • Temperament: difficult or slow to warm up
  • Physical/cognitive/emotional disability, chronic or serious illness
  • Childhood trauma
  • Anti-social peer group
  • Age
  • Child aggression, behavior problems, attention deficits

Parental/Family Risk Factors

  • Poverty
  • Parental substance abuse
  • Parental impulsivity
  • Parental low self-esteem
  • A lack of social support for the family.
  • Parental immaturity
  • Parents' unrealistic expectations
  • Unmet emotional needs
  • The stress of caring for children
  • Economic crisis
  • Domestic/intimate partner violence
  • Lack of parenting knowledge/skills
  • Lack of communication skills
  • Inaccurate knowledge and expectations about child development
  • Difficulty in managing relationships
  • Depression, anxiety or other mental health problems
  • Personality Factors
  • External locus of control
  • Low tolerance for frustration
  • Feelings of insecurity
  • Lack of trust
  • Insecure attachment with own parents
  • Childhood history of abuse
  • Family structure - single parent with lack of support, high number of children in household
  • Social isolation, lack of support
  • Separation/divorce, especially high conflict divorce
  • High general stress level
  • Poor parent-child interaction, negative attitudes and attributions about child's behavior

Community Risk Factors

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Stressful life events
  • Social isolation/lack of social support
  • Dangerous/violent neighborhood
  • Community violence
  • Poverty
  • Lack of access to medical care, health insurance, adequate child care, and social services

Societal Risk Factors

  • Homelessness
  • Exposure to racism/discrimination
  • Poor schools
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Narrow legal definitions of child maltreatment
  • Social acceptance of violence (as evidenced by music lyrics, television, film and video games)
  • Political and religious views that value noninterference in families.


Continue on to Protective Factors for Child Abuse and Maltreatment