The long run impact of child abuse on health care costs and wellbeing in Australia. CHERE Working Paper 2010/10
There are approximately 55,000 substantiated child abuse or neglect cases in Australia each year, according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data, 2005-06 to 2008-09 (AIHW2010). In 2008-09, one third of child maltreatment cases related to physical or sexual abuse. Our paper examines the relationship between physical and sexual abuse of children and adult physical and mental health conditions and associated health care costs in Australia. The analysis utilises confidentialised unit record file data from the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing 2007, which includes 8841 persons aged from 16 to 85. The econometric results indicate that Australians with a history of being abused as a child suffer from significantly more physical and mental health conditions as adults and incur higher annual health care costs. In addition, we investigate the associations between child abuse, incarceration and self harm and the intergenerational impact of abuse, to extend the understanding of the long run costs of child abuse in Australia. We conclude that prevention child abuse is expected to generate long term socio-economic benefits.
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