Children are abused by adults of all ages, class, gender, race, financial/societal status and sexual orientation.
There is no such thing as a typical child abuser, and it is important to stress that most people love their children, and would do anything to protect them from harm, regardless of their circumstances.
The following factors may in some instances, may increase the likelihood of abuse:
· Stress and pressure, reducing some adults’ abilities to control aggressive feelings towards children
· Financial problems
· Relationship problems including domestic violence
· Social disadvantage such as low income or inadequate housing
· Mental illness
· Substance abuse
· A parent’s own history of childhood abuse
· Lack of support
· Religious beliefs
· Children raised in ‘step families’, in-care or cared for by a non-biological care-giver are statistically more likely to be victims of child abuse
· Perceived cultural norms – In some areas and in some decades in time, it was seen as ‘normal’ to use excessive violence against children
· People who abuse animals are statistically much more likely to abuse children.
· Involvement with extreme organizations posing as ‘religious cults’ (of ANY kind) may increas the likelyhood of child abuse based on ignorance and false beliefs (for example, that difficult behavior is caused by demonic possesion)
· Parental alienation, whereby one parent keeps a child from another for any reason that is not based on the well being of the child, or says negative things about the other parent to the child, is a form of child abuse, and obviously only children from separated families are at risk of this type of abuse