In the first five years of life the brain develops rapidly, making it highly sensitive to stress. Exposure to maltreatment during this period may critically impair cognitive milestones and learning opportunities, as well as social development.
This FACSAR Evidence to Action Note presents key findings from an analysis of Wave 1 data from the NSW Child Development Study, which aims to identify vulnerability and protective factors for a variety of health, educational, social and wellbeing outcomes of children in NSW. The results show that exposure to any form of childhood maltreatment is associated with an increased risk of developmental vulnerability at age five. Children exposed to multiple maltreatment types are also more likely to be vulnerable on multiple developmental domains.