While a common misconception might be that child abuse victims come from "bad" or low-income families, the truth is that child abuse occurs across the spectrum of socioeconomic conditions and within all types of families.
One fact that is clear across the board: perpetrators of child abuse and neglect are most often the child's own parents. According to NCANDS, a 2005 study showed that 79.4% of child abusers were the parents, and the next largest pool of abusers consisted of unmarried partners of the parents of child victims. A whopping 40% of child victims were abused by their mothers acting alone, and a disturbing 17.3% were abused by both parents.1
What causes parents to abuse their children?
As with all forms of abuse, one of the primary reasons an abuser becomes abusive is because he or she was once abused. Adding to that, the stress and helplessness that can overcome a parent can contribute to abusive tendencies. A parent who is not getting enough time for adequate self-care, or has not been taught how to appropriately and consistently discipline a child, is at added risk for developing abusive tendencies. Substance abuse and addictions can be the root cause or simply exacerbate the problem.