In sum, the adoption of a risk and protective factor approach to understanding and preventing child abuse is highly consistent with empirical study of how child abuse develops and with efforts in the prevention of heart disease. This analogy can be helpful in designing a comprehensive approach to the prevention of child abuse. It should not be taken too far, however. For example, it may be destructive to perceive abusive parents as "sick." There may be better metaphors that do not invoke sickness, such as literacy. So, 'the analogy would go like this: abusive parents are like illiterate adults, and prevention of abuse will require a universal comprehensive, life-long, public education system that includes years of focused education for all, coupled with a selective special education system for high-risk individuals.