National Child Abuse Statistics
Compiled May 2005 by Childhelp USAź
NOTE: The U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (http://www.acf.hhs.gov) releases its most current child abuse statistics, as reported by the states, in April of each year. The following includes
statistics released April 2005, which analyzed data for calendar year 2003.
Each day in the United States, more than 4 children
die as a result of child abuse in the home.
In 2003, an estimated 1,500 children died of abuse and neglect-an average
of more than 4 children per day. (Victims known to child protective services agencies, which track abuse and neglect in the
More than three-quarters (78.7 percent) of the children who die are younger than four years of age.
these fatalities, 89 percent were under the age of eight; 43.6 percent of the children were under the age of one.
The rate of infant homicide reached a 30-year
high in 2000.
The rate more than doubled from 4.3 homicides per 100,000 children under age one in 1970 to 9.1 per 100,000
children under age one in 2000. This trend occurred during a period in which there was an overall decrease in infant mortality
from all sources.
Research studies of infant death data drawn from multiple agency records (e.g., police or social
service records) indicate that the actual rate of infant deaths attributable to substantial abuse or neglect of infants and
children up to four years of age is more than twice as high as the official rates reported in death certificate data.
is the leading cause of injury deaths among infants (under one year of age) in the United States.
Overall, it is the
15th leading cause of infant mortality from all causes. Homicide risk is greater in the first year of life than in any other
year of childhood before age 17. Perpetrators are typically the mother, father or stepfather.
Infants are most likely
to be killed by their mother during the first week of life but are more likely to be killed by a male (usually their father
or stepfather) thereafter.
REPORTING OF ABUSE
More than 2.9 million reports of possible
maltreatment involving children were made to child protective service agencies in calendar year 2003.
The actual incidence
of abuse and neglect is estimated to be three times greater than the number reported to authorities.
Child abuse is
reported-on average-every 10 seconds.
Based on approximately 2.9 million reports per year.
An estimated 906,000
children were victims of abuse and neglect in 2003 (cases substantiated by child protective service agencies).
in 10 Americans polled regard child abuse as a serious problem, yet only 1 in 3 reported abuse when confronted with an actual
TYPES OF ABUSE & ABUSERS
In 2003, 48.3 percent of child victims
were male; 51.7 percent of victims were female. 83.9 percent of victims were abused by a parent. 40.8% of child victims were
maltreated by their mothers acting alone; another 18.8 percent were maltreated by their fathers acting alone; 16.9 percent
were abused by both parents.
Types of maltreatment included:
Neglect (including medical neglect) 61%
*Includes abandonment and
congenital drug addiction figures reported by some states.
NOTE: Percentages total more than 100% because children
may have been victims of more than one type of abuse.
POTENTIAL EFFECTS OF ABUSE
Men and women serving time in the
nation's prisons and jails report a higher incidence of abuse as children than the general population.
More than a
third of women in the nation's prisons and jails reported abuse as children, compared with 12% to 17% for women in the general
population. About 14% of male inmates reported abuse as children, compared with 5% to 8% of men in the general population.
has found that repeated sexual abuse affects the function of a key brain region related to substance abuse.
to the cerebellar vermis may cause an individual to be particularly irritable and to seek external means (e.g., drugs or alcohol)
to quell the irritability. While researchers have long known that a history of child abuse increases the risk for substance
abuse in adults, a clear developmental mechanism by which this phenomenon occurs has been unclear until now.
SEXUAL ASSAULT OF CHILDREN
Convicted rape and sexual assault
offenders serving time in state prisons report that two-thirds of their victims were under the age of 18.
One of every
seven victims of sexual assault reported to law enforcement agencies were under age six. Among rape victims less than 12 years
of age, 90% of the children knew the offender, according to police-recorded incident data.
Frequently, the person who
sexually molests a child is also a child.
40% of the offenders who sexually assaulted children under age 6 were juveniles
(under the age of 18).
INFLUENCE OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Nearly one-half of substantiated
cases of child neglect and abuse are associated with parental alcohol or drug abuse.
It is estimated that one in every
four children in the United States (28 million) are living in a household with an alcoholic adult.