Child maltreatment and victimization

Handb Clin Neurol. 2023:197:147-160. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-821375-9.00001-3.


It is estimated that up to 25% of all children growing up worldwide experience child maltreatment, making it a global emergency with substantial individual and public health consequences. This chapter addresses one of the most societally pervasive consequences of child maltreatment which is known as the "cycle of victimization." This concept depicts the increased risk of maltreated individuals to victimize others later in life, both within and outside the family environment. To understand the architecture of this victimization cycle, the chapter further sheds light on neurocognitive mechanisms aiding different forms of victimization and the buffering role of social support that could help break the cycle of victimization. Advancing our understanding of these complex and interrelated mechanisms will ultimately facilitate the design and implementation of more targeted early treatments and (preventive) interventions and support a move toward a safer society.

Keywords: Abuse; Child maltreatment; Intergenerational transmission; Neglect; Protective factors; Social support; Victimization; Violence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse*
  • Humans
  • Public Health