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Back To Vidyya National Child Abuse And Neglect Statistical Fact Sheet

44 Of Every 1000 Children Are Maltreated Or Abused

Reports: Child protective services agencies investigated more than 2 million reports alleging maltreatment of more than 3 million children.

  • The national rate of children who were reported was 44 per 1,000 children in the population.

  • Reports were received from professionals (52 percent), persons in the families of the victims, including parents, other relatives, and the victims themselves (18 percent), and friends and neighbors (9 percent). Twenty percent of reports were from other or anonymous persons.

  • It is estimated that almost two-thirds of substantiated or indicated reports were from professional sources--education, social services, law enforcement, and medicine.

Victims: Child protective services agencies determined that almost 1 million children were identified as victims of substantiated or indicated abuse or neglect in 1996, an approximate 18 percent increase since 1990.

  • The national rate of victimization was 15 victims per 1,000 children in the population.

  • More than half (52 percent) of all victims suffered neglect, while almost a quarter (24 percent) suffered physical abuse. About 12 percent of the victims were sexually abused. Children suffering medical neglect and emotional maltreatment accounted for 3 percent and 6 percent of all victims, respectively. A greater proportion of neglect and medical neglect victims were children younger than 8 years old, while a greater proportion of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse victims were children age 8 or older.

  • More than half (53 percent) of all victims were white. African American children represented the second-largest group of victims (27 percent). Hispanic children were about 11 percent of victims, American Indian/Alaska Native children about 2 percent of victims and Asian/Pacific Islander children about 1 percent of victims. The percentages of African American and American Indian/Alaska Native victims were disproportionately high, almost twice their representation in the national child population.

  • An estimated 1,077 child maltreatment fatalities occurred in the 50 States and the District of Columbia in 1996. Based on data from a subset of states, children younger than age 4 accounted for 76 percent of fatalities.

Perpetrators: Seventy-seven percent of perpetrators of child maltreatment were parents, and an additional 11 percent were other relatives of the victim.

  • It is estimated that over 80 percent of all perpetrators were under age 40 and that almost two-thirds were females.

  • An estimated three-quarters of neglect and medical neglect cases were associated with female perpetrators, while almost three-quarters of sexual abuse cases were associated with male perpetrators.


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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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