5 May 2009

Nil empathy seen in children raised in abusive homes

5:14 am on 5 May 2009

A report by the Families Commission shows young children raised in abusive homes do not develop empathy toward other people or the ability to control their own emotions.

The report to be released on Tuesday will help guide the commission's advice to the Government on how to reduce child abuse rates.

It says the brains of children who experience or witness violence and neglect, pump high levels of stress hormones.

Co-author Charles Waldegrave says this prevents children from developing basic social skills, which are found to be lacking in many adults who commit heinous crimes and show no remorse.