Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Are people who were abused as children more likely to become
criminals later in life?
According to a 2005 study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), maltreatment in childhood increases the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59% and as an adult by 28%. Abuse as a child also increases the prospect of arrest for a violent crime by 30%.
For females, being abused or neglected in childhood raises the likelihood of arrest by 77%. A related 1994 NIJ study indicated that children who were sexually abused were 28 times more likely than a control group of non-abused children to be arrested for prostitution as an adult.
A 1997 U.S. Department of Justice study sampled 1,000 urban youths in seventh and
eighth grades. Childhood abuse and neglect provided a 25% increased risk factor for serious delinquency (assaults, drug use), poor school performance, symptoms of mental illness, and pregnancy. Interestingly, the risk of lesser forms of delinquency (for
example, underage drinking) were not increased.
Child abuse is a serious national problem involving all economic, ethnic,
racial, and religious groups.
Children are abused predominantly by parents, but other caregivers (babysitter) are not infrequent offenders.
The major types of child abuse are physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect.
Child neglect is the most frequent type of child abuse and the most lethal.
If any suspicion of child abuse or neglect exists, a report should be filed
with the appropriate agency. Good-faith reports are immune from prosecution. A
local system for timely investigation and evaluation should be incorporated in
all cases of child maltreatment.
Prevention (education and counseling) is the best approach for the management
of child abuse and neglect.
For additional information on child abuse, neglect, and child
welfare, try the following sites:
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is the agency
within the Department of Health and Human Services that brings
together the broad range of federal programs and services that
address the needs of children and families.
The Children's Bureau is the oldest federal agency specifically
charged with the responsibility of looking after the well-being of
the nation's children. The bureau helps the states to deliver child-welfare services, such as the protection of children and the
strengthening of families (child protective services), family
preservation and support, foster care, adoption, and independent
Search the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's
(NCMEC) database of current missing children cases and view images of
missing children. Their missing children forum, another site feature,
aids in finding missing and exploited children, supporting families
whose children are missing, and offering child-safety assistance.
Members can speak with each other and with NCMEC representatives
about the images in the forum's libraries.
One of the largest federal clearinghouses and the world's largest
resource for information and materials on substance abuse, the
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) is
the information arm of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
(Department of Health and Human Services). Services offered by NCADI
include: an information services staff to respond to public inquiries
on alcohol, tobacco, and drugs (ATD); distribution of over 450 free
or low-cost materials on ATD, such as fact sheets, posters,
monographs, and video tapes; referrals to prevention, intervention,
and treatment resources; access to the Prevention Materials and the
Treatment Resources Databases; and federal grant announcements for ATD-related projects.
Visit the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Web
site, Justice Information Center (JIC), for a collection of
clearinghouses providing information on criminal and juvenile justice
issues. The categories offered are: corrections, courts, crime
prevention, criminal-justice statistics, drugs and crime,
international, juvenile justice, law enforcement, research and
evaluation, and victims. In addition, JIC offers "New This Week" and
"Current Highlights" pages.
The mission of the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and
is to facilitate the secondary analysis of research data relevant to
the study of child abuse and neglect. The archive's primary activity
is the acquisition, preservation, and dissemination of high-quality
data sets related to the study of child abuse and neglect. Their Web
site provides a listing and brief description of all the studies in
the archive ,along with ordering information. Information on archive
publications and upcoming training institutes and workshops is also
The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) serves
American Indian tribes throughout the country by helping to
strengthen and enhance their capacity to deliver quality child-welfare services. Among the activities in which NICWA engages are
community development, public-policy development, and information
Previously, this organization was called the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information.
It's an excellent resource covering prevention, responding to child abuse, and supporting and preserving families.