Photo: Flickr/Johan Larsson
The total cost of dealing with abuse or neglect as a child can run the victim $210,012 over their lifetime, according to the centres for Disease Control and Prevention (via WebMD).For the nation, the CDC estimated the cost to be approximately $124 billion, but it may be as high as $585 billion.
These numbers come from adding up a variety of factors:
- $32,648 in childhood health care costs
- $10,530 in adult medical costs
- $144,360 in productivity losses
- $7,728 in child welfare costs
- $6,747 in criminal justice costs
- $7,999 in special education costs
Productivity losses are so high because child abuse can result in behavorial problems and an increased risk of chronic diseases later in life. The study found that on average, people with a history of abuse earned about $5,890 (adjusted for 2010 dollars) less per year on average than control subjects.
In comparison, a stroke gives a person a lifetime cost of $159,846, and type 2 diabetes is at least $181,000 in damages.
Now that we know that child abuse can be costlier than other dangerous medical illnesses, it should be time to treat “CM” as a disease in and of itself, with a greater expansion of awareness and treatment programs.
Of course, even one child being abused is too high a cost for a society to bear. And yet there were an estimated 772,000 children who experienced maltreatment in 2008. 1,740 children younger than 17 died from abuse and neglect that year.
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