The consequences of maltreatment on children's lives: a systematic review of data from the East Asia and Pacific Region

Trauma Violence Abuse. 2012 Oct;13(4):209-33. doi: 10.1177/1524838012455873. Epub 2012 Aug 16.


This study explores the consequences of child maltreatment in East Asia and the Pacific region based on the results of a systematic review of 16 English and non-English databases for journal articles and "gray" literature published between January 2001 and November 2010. This review shows that children in the region experiencing maltreatment are at increased risk of experiencing mental health consequences, physical health sequelae, high-risk sexual behaviors, and increased exposure to future violence including intimate partner violence (IPV) as an adult. Children who suffer from child sexual abuse have a median twofold increased risk of experiencing mental health disorders than those who have never experienced child maltreatment. Similar findings were found for those who experience physical abuse. Children who have been maltreated in the region are also at an increased risk of suicide ideation and attempts than those that have experienced child sexual or physical abuse being at a median fourfold increased risk. Children who have experienced physical abuse or those who have witnessed parental domestic abuse as a child are at median twofold increased risk of experiencing IPV as an adult, while children who have been sexually abused have a median threefold increase in risk of IPV later in life. There are still gaps in our understanding of the consequences of child maltreatment, but we do know that the consequences are profound and far-reaching. The findings indicate that there is an urgent need for governments, civil society organizations, development agencies, and academia to advocate for, invest in, and collaborate across sectors for the strengthening of child protection systems in the East Asia and Pacific Region, with a focus on evidence-based child maltreatment prevention policies and programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology
  • Child Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Far East
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Pacific Islands
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*