Women who experience childhood violence or who have witnessed parental violence could be at risk of being victimised as adults as they are more likely to have low self-esteem and they may have learnt that violent behaviour is a normal response to dealing with conflict (Mouzos & Makkai, 2004).Adults with a history of child abuse and neglect are more likely than the general population to experience physical health problems including diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, arthritis, headaches, gynaecological problems, stroke, hepatitis and heart disease (Felitti et al., 1998; Sachs-Ericsson, Cromer, Hernandez, & Kendall-Tackett, 2009; Springer, Sheridan, Kuo, & Carnes, 2007).Adverse consequences are broadly linked to all abuse types, however, where appropriate, associations are made between specific types of abuse and neglect and specific negative outcomes.Adverse outcomes of abuse and neglect often emerge in childhood and adolescence and may continue in adults with histories of abuse and neglect (Miller-Perrin & Perrin, 2007).defined as "recurrent incidents of maltreatment over a prolonged period of time" (Bromfield & Higgins, 2005, p.39) has been linked to worse outcomes than transitory or isolated incidents of maltreatment (e.g., Ethier, Lemelin, & Lacharite, 2004; Graham et al., 2010; Johnson-Reid, Kohl, & Drake, 2012).Complex trauma reflects the multiple and interacting symptoms, disorders and multiple adverse experiences and the broad range of cognitive, affective and behavioural outcomes associated with prolonged trauma, particularly if occurring early in life and involving an interpersonal element (e.g., sexual abuse; Price-Robertson, Rush, Wall, & Higgins, 2013).The remainder of this paper explores the major negative physical, cognitive, psychological, behavioural and social consequences of child abuse and neglect that extend into adulthood.
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Oliver (1993), in a review of the research literature, concluded that an estimated one-third of children who are subjected to child abuse and neglect go on to repeat patterns of abusive parenting towards their own children.
Although this is a significant number, it is also important to note that Oliver's estimations indicate that a majority of maltreated children do not go on to maltreat their own children.
Research suggests that maltreatment types are interrelated, that is, a large proportion of adults who experience childhood abuse or neglect are exposed to more than one type of abuse (known as multi-type maltreatment).
Further to this, other forms of victimisation (known as poly-victimisation) such as bullying or assault by a peer have often been found to co-occur with child maltreatment (Finkelhor, Ormrod, & Turner, 2007).