Child Abuse Statistics

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National Child Abuse Statistics

  • 4.3 million child maltreatment referral reports received.
  • Child abuse reports involved 7.8 million children.
  • 91.7% of victims are maltreated by one or both parents.
  • Only 3.3 million children received prevention & post-response services.
  • 146,706 children received foster care services.
  • 411,969 victims (60.8%) are neglected.
  • 72,814 victims (10.7%) are physically abused.
  • 47,124 victims (7%) are sexually abused.
  • 15,605 victims (2.3%) are psychologically maltreated.
  • Highest rate of child abuse in children under age one (26.7 per 1,000).
  • Annual estimate: 1,770 children died from abuse and neglect in 2018.
  • Almost five children die every day from child abuse.
  • Seventy-one (70.6%) percent of all child fatalities were younger than 3 years old.
  • 80.3% of child fatalities involve at least one parent.
  • Of the children who died, 72.8% suffered neglect.
  • Of the children who died, 46.1% suffered physical abuse either exclusively or in combination with another maltreatment type.

 

  • 46.6% of children who die from child abuse are under one year.
  • Boys had a higher child fatality rate than girls (2.87 boys & 2.19 girls per 100,000)1
  • Almost 65,000 children are sexually abused.
  • 2018 is the first year for which states are reporting the new maltreatment type of sex trafficking. For 2018, 27 states report 741 unique victims of sex trafficking.
  • For victims of the sex trafficking maltreatment type, the majority (89.1%) are female and 10.4 percent are male.
  • Estimated that between 50-60% of maltreatment fatalities are not recorded on death certificates.
  • Child abuse crosses all socioeconomic and educational levels, religions, ethnic and cultural groups.
  • 14% of all men in prison and 36% of women in prison in the USA were abused as children, about twice the frequency seen in the general population.
  • Children who experience child abuse & neglect are approximately 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity.

 

CONSEQUENCES & RISK FACTORS

 

  • Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.
  • Abused teens are more likely to engage in sexual risk taking behaviors, putting them at greater risk for STDs.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.
  • In at least one study, about 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
  • The financial cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States is estimated at $585 billion.

EFFECTS OF PARENTAL DRUG & ALCOHOL ABUSE

 

Drug/alcohol abuse by parents and caregivers has an effect on children, often resulting in neglect of the children and threatened abuse.

Drug abuse is non-discriminate, affecting all socioeconomic groups and people from all walks of life. Tolerance and dependency on drugs can develop quickly, without the user even realizing that addiction is taking hold. The pattern of abuse and addiction can be extremely difficult to stop.

 

  • Alcohol abuse (parent/caregiver)—the compulsive use of alcohol that is not of a temporary nature.1
  • Drug abuse (parent/caregiver)—the compulsive use of drugs that is not of a temporary nature.1
  • Domestic violence (parent/caregiver)–abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another.1

EFFECTS OF PARENTAL DRUG & ALCOHOL ABUSE

 

Drug/alcohol abuse by parents and caregivers has an effect on children, often resulting in neglect of the children and threatened abuse.

Drug abuse is non-discriminate, affecting all socioeconomic groups and people from all walks of life. Tolerance and dependency on drugs can develop quickly, without the user even realizing that addiction is taking hold. The pattern of abuse and addiction can be extremely difficult to stop.

 

  • Alcohol abuse (parent/caregiver)—the compulsive use of alcohol that is not of a temporary nature.1
  • Drug abuse (parent/caregiver)—the compulsive use of drugs that is not of a temporary nature.1
  • Domestic violence (parent/caregiver)–abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another.1

CONSEQUENCES & RISK FACTORS

 

  • 1/3 to 2/3 of child maltreatment cases involve substance use to some degree.
  • In one study, children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs were three times more likely to be abused and more than four times more likely to be neglected than children from non-abusing families.
  • Two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse report being abused or neglected as children.
  • More than a third of adolescents with a report of abuse or neglect will have a substance use disorder before their 18th birthday, three times as likely as those without a report of abuse or neglect.
  • 11.5% of children have a parent/caregiver alcohol abuse risk factor.
  • 28.5% of children have a parent/caregiver drug abuse risk factor.
  • 25.0% – 33.2% of children have a domestic violence abuse risk factor.

OPIOID CRISIS & EFFECTS ON CHILDREN

 

Parental opioid and other substance abuse can have a devastating impact on children. The early trauma exposure makes children more likely to suffer mental health disorders including substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder later on in their lives. Children are often the hidden victims of our nation’s opioid epidemic.

A 2015 study from the National Institutes of Health found children exposed to opiates during pregnancy suffer from behavior and attention problems. Such children require therapy and often, specially licensed and trained foster families. States have indicated that they are struggling to recruit qualified foster families to home children with behavioral and attention issues.

The increase in the number of children in foster care occurs at the same time as the increase in the percentage of children entering foster care due to parental substance abuse. Anecdotal evidence and expert opinion link this increase to the parallel rise in parental opioid addiction and overdoses. One-third of children entering foster care in 2016 were due at least in part to parental drug abuse—an increase of nearly 50 percent since 2005.

Neglect, the finding in 61 percent of child maltreatment cases and the leading reason for foster care entry, is also often a result of substance abuse.

References & Sources
  1. U.S. Dept. of Justice
  2. Hawkins, D. L., Pepler, D., and Craig, W. M. (2001). Peer interventions in playground bullying.  Social Development, 10, 512-527.
  3. National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, SCHOOL CRIME SUPPLEMENT, 2008–2009
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, YOUTH RISK BEHAVIOR SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM, 2011
  5. Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36 (3), 361-382.
  6. Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36 (3), 361-382.
  7. Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36 (3), 361-382.
  8. National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, SCHOOL CRIME SUPPLEMENT, 2008–2009
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, YOUTH RISK BEHAVIOR SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM, 2011.
  10. Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Bartkiewicz, M. J., Boesen, M. J., & Palmer, N. A. (2012). The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.
  11. AT RISK GROUPS
  12. YOUTH WITH DISABILITIES

 

FEDERALLY COLLECTED DATA REPORTS

2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics).

The abuse may be brief, but the trauma lasts a lifetime.
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