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Impact on learning

Watch QUT’s Professor Kerryann Walsh explain the impact of abuse and neglect on children’s learning
Child abuse and neglect affects children’s learning and development. These children are generally less ready to learn. The effects of abuse and neglect can manifest differently for different children and can include aggression towards peers, lack of empathy, low frustration tolerance, seeming disinterest in school activities, hyper-vigilance disruptive and antisocial behaviours, or even withdrawal. These conditions can lead to significant effects on learning. It can lead to absenteeism, grade retention, the need for remedial or support classes, school failure and drop out. School become a difficult place for these children to be, and it results in inequitable learning opportunities and outcomes for the victims of child abuse and neglect.
Children in out-of-home care are arguably the most vulnerable children who suffer from the most serious forms of child abuse and neglect. On average children in care are more likely to attend more than one school in a school year and be older than their classmates and held back from progressing to the next grade. A study in Australia showed that in one school year in Australia, one in three children in out-of-home care missed 20 or more days of school. Almost half had been excluded from a school at sometime. One in five said they were bullied at school always or most of the time, and nearly forty percent said their educational needs were not being met.
Very few of them even knew if they had an education plan. Results from Australia’s literacy and numeracy tests show that educational outcomes for children in out-of-home care are well below those of their peers. Child maltreatment negatively affects so many aspects of children’s functioning that are connected to their success at school. The good news though is that abuse survivors can overcome these effects and together educators and professionals who support children can improve their educational outcomes.

In this introductory video, I will provide an overview of child maltreatment and learning. As the statistics I refer to are from Australia, I encourage you to research the details of child abuse and neglect in your own country and share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

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Child Protection for Teachers

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