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Abuse and Neglect

Narrative

State child protective services (CPS) agencies received approximately 3.3 million referrals, involving an estimated 6.0 million children, alleging abuse or neglect in 2009. More than 58.3 percent of these reports were made by professionals, including teachers, police officers, lawyers, and social services staff. Nonprofessionals, including parents, neighbors, friends, other relatives, and anonymous reporters made 28.1 percent of the reports; other and unknown sources submitted the remainder of reports (13.6 percent).

CPS investigations determined that an estimated 702,000 individual children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2009, equaling a victimization rate of 9.3 per 1,000 children in the population. Neglect was the most common type of maltreatment (experienced by 78.3 percent of victims), followed by physical abuse (17.8 percent), sexual abuse (9.5 percent), psychological maltreatment (7.6 percent), and medical neglect (2.4 percent). About 10 percent of victims experienced other types of maltreatment including abandonment, threats of harm, or congenital drug addiction. A child may have suffered from multiple forms of maltreatment and was counted once for each maltreatment type.

In 2009, children aged 0-3 years accounted for 33.4 percent of all victims. Approximately one- quarter of victims were between the ages of 4 and 7 years, 18.8 percent were aged 8-11 years, 17.8 percent were aged 12-15 years, and 6.3 percent were aged 16-17 years. Victimization was split between the sexes with males accounting for 48.2 percent and females accounting for 51.1 percent (the remainder were unknown).

Overall, 80.9 percent of perpetrators of abuse or neglect were parents of the victim (either alone or in conjunction with another person). Additional categories of perpetrators included other relatives (6.3 percent), unmarried partners of parents (4.3 percent), and professionals such as childcare workers and residential facility staff (0.8 percent). Other types of perpetrators included foster parents, friends and neighbors, and legal guardians.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

abuse and neglect among children graph

This image is described in the Data section.

child abuse victims by age graph

Data

Abuse and Neglect Among Children Under Age 18, by Type of Maltreatment,* 2009

Percent of victims:

  • Neglect 78.3
  • Physical abuse 17.8
  • Sexual abuse 9.5
  • Psychological maltreatment 7.6
  • Medical neglect 2.4
  • Other 9.6

*A child may have suffered from multiple forms of maltreatment and was counted once for each maltreatment type.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2010). Child Maltreatment 2009. Accessed February 2011.

Child Abuse and Neglect Victims, by Age, 2009

Percent of Victims:

  • < 1 Year: 12.6
  • 1-3 Years: 20.8
  • 4-7 Years: 23.3
  • 8-11 Years: 18.8
  • 12-15 Years: 17.8
  • 16-17 Years: 6.3
  • Unknown: 0.4

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2010). Child Maltreatment 2009. Accessed February 2011.


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