All children are vulnerable but there is an argument that adopted children are more so. This is because the very fact of their adoption tells of a shakier start in life. Of course this does not mean that they are more likely to suffer child abuse. Sadly any child can suffer child abuse whether they are brought up by a single parent family, both parents, foster parents or are placed within the care system.

There is no known single cause of child maltreatment or any single description that captures all families where children are victims of abuse and neglect. There are a number of recognised risk factors commonly associated with maltreatment and these are:

– Parent or caregiver factors:

o Personality characteristics and psychological well-being
o History of maltreatment
o Substance abuse
o Attitudes and knowledge
o Age

– Family factors:

o Family structure
o Martial conflict and domestic violence
o Stress

– Child factors:

o Age
o Disabilities
o Other characteristics

– Environmental factors:

o Unemployment
o Isolation and support
o Violent communities

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