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Proof-Abused Infants Can Be Abusive Adults

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SCIENTIFIC PROOF-ABUSED INFANTS CAN GROW UP TO BE ABUSIVE ADULTS

New evidence proving that children damaged at an early age can grow up to be abusive adults is highlighted in Brainy Babies, the new book from leading New Zealand paediatrician and child abuse expert, Dr Robin Fancourt. Released today, the book sheds light on the child abuse debate by showing the results of research into infant brain development and explaining the physiological effects of abuse on a developing brain.

"Neglect or abuse can impair or destroy the development of the brain, leading to disastrous results for children. Scars are actually burnt into the brain stem," says Dr Fancourt.

The brain grows faster in a stimulating and caring environment. An 8-month-old baby could have 25% more brain connections than an under-stimulated child. A 2-year-old, surrounded by caring adults may know more than 300 more words than a deprived child.

The speed at which the infant brain develops is astronomical, stressing the need for swift intervention. "The judge who decides that more physical evidence is needed to remove a two-year-old child from her home and asks for a review in six months is making a dangerous decision. Several months can permanently impair brain development of the two-year old."

Driven by fear and terror a child's brain development is shaped by the persistent activation of the survival response. This reduces the child's capacity to process other experiences, can affect memory, hinder the ability to learn and suppress the immune system, leaving the child to see the entire world as dangerous. These children then either turn their pain inwards or pass it on to others in destructive ways of abuse, continuing the cycle of abuse.

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