Risk Factors Associated with Child Abuse and Mitigating Services: A Conceptual Framework
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Evidence demonstrates that the incidence of child abuse is higher in families who experience certain risk factors, such as domestic violence, poverty, and substance abuse disorders. In addition, research indicates that parenting attitudes and values are indicators of abuse. These problems often occur simultaneously, and can reinforce each other. For example, poverty and the stress it produces can lead to a need to escape that can result in drug/alcohol abuse. Or, substance abuse can lead to bad decisions, poor work history, and poverty. Substance abuse can also lower inhibitions and lead to domestic violence and/or child abuse. The purpose of this paper is not to determine the causal sequence. Rather, the purpose is to identify services that address and alleviate these problems. The factors and services are classified in a conceptual framework. Subsequently, this information is used to develop a handbook identifying Texas agencies and organizations that provide services that may reduce the risk factors.