Neglect represents the most common type of reported and substantiated form of maltreatment. In 1996, 25 states provided the following breakdown for reported cases: 62% involved neglect, 25% physical abuse, 7% sexual abuse, 3% emotional maltreatment and 4% other. For substantiated cases, 31 states gave the following breakdowns: 60% neglect, 23% physical, 9% sexual, 4% emotional maltreatment and 5% other (NCPCA's 1996 Annual Fifty State Survey).
In 1999, an estimated 1,401 child abuse and neglect related fatalities were confirmed by CPS agencies, nearly 4 every day. Since 1985, the rate of child abuse fatalities has increased by 39%. Based on these numbers, more than three children die each day as a result of child abuse or neglect (NCPCA's 1996 Annual Fifty State Survey).
According to information from at least 18 states that were able to report the type of maltreatment which caused the child's death for at least one of the past three years. Approximately 54% of the deaths were due to physical abuse while 43% resulted from neglect. Young children remain at high risk for loss of life. Based on data from all three years, this study found 82% of these children were under the age of five while an alarming 42% were under the age of one at the time of their death (NCPCA's 1996 Annual Fifty State Survey).
The U.S. Advisory Board reported that near fatal abuse and neglect each year leave "18,000 permanently disabled children, tens of thousands of victims overwhelmed by lifelong psychological trauma, thousands of traumatized siblings and family members, and thousands of near-death survivors who, as adults, continue to bear the physical and psychological scars. Some may turn to crime or domestic violence or become abusers themselves (U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, 1995 report, A National's Shame.)"
The Third National Incidence Study (NIS-3) of child maltreatment released by the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) in the fall of 1996. Note: NIS-4 is underway and is scheduled for completion Feb 2008.
The NIS is congressionally mandated under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). The NIS collects data on children who were investigated by child protective services (CPS) agencies and on children seen by community professionals who were not reported to CPS or who were screened out by CPS without investigation.
The NIS studies have been published on data collected in 1979 (NIS-1), in 1986 (NIS-2), and in 1993 (NIS-3).
The NIS uses two definitions of child maltreatment: the Harm Standard, under which children are counted as maltreated only if they have already experienced demonstrable harm; and the Endangerment Standard, under which children are counted if they have experienced maltreatment that puts them at risk of demonstrable harm.
The NIS-3 gathered data from a nationally representative sample of 5,612 community professionals in 842 agencies serving 42 counties.
Finding of the NIS-3:
- The estimated number of children seriously injured by all forms of maltreatment quadrupled between 1986 and 1993, from 141,700 to 565,000 (a 299% increase).
- Considering the Harm Standard:
- The estimated number of sexually abused children increased 83%;
- The number of physically neglected children rose 102%;
- There was a 333 % increase in the estimated number of emotionally neglected children; and
- The estimated number of physically abused children rose 42%.
CPS investigated only 28% of children whose maltreatment met the Harm Standard.
Although the percentage of children whose abuse or neglect was investigated declined, the actual number of children investigated remained constant.
CPS investigated only 26 percent of the seriously injured and 26 percent of the moderately injured children.
Girls are sexually abused three times more often than boys.
Boys are at a greater risk of serious injury and of emotional neglect than are girls.
The incidence of fatally injured girls declined slightly, while the incidence of fatally injured boys rose.
Found no race differences in maltreatment incidence.
Poverty is significantly related to incidence rates in nearly every category of maltreatment. Compared to children whose families earned $30,000 or more, children in families with annual incomes below $15,000 were:
- More than 22 times more likely to experience maltreatment under the Harm Standard and 25 times more likely under the Endangerment Standard.
- More than 44 times more likely to be neglected, by either definitional standard.
- Over 22 times more likely to be seriously injured using either definitional standard.
- 60 times more likely to die from maltreatment under the Harm Standard.
(Executive Summary of the Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, September 1996 and Reid, T. (1996). News NIS-3 Data. APSAC Advisor, 9 (3).)
Children whose parents abuse drugs or alcohol are put at a greater risk for violent victimization (National Commission on Children, 1993).
With the exception of homicide, children and youths suffer more victimization than do adults in virtually every category, including physical abuse, sibling assault, bullying, sexual abuse, and rape (American Psychological Association Commission on Violence and Youth, 1993).
It is estimated that children with disabilities are 4 to 10 times more vulnerable to sexual abuse than their non-disabled peers (National Resource Center on Child Sexual Abuse, 1992).
In over 9000 divorces in 12 states, child sexual abuse allegations were made in less then 2% of contested divorces involving child custody (Association of Family Conciliation Courts, 1990).
It is estimated that there are 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in America today (Forward, 1993)
Long term effects of child abuse include fear, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor self esteem, tendency toward substance abuse and difficulty with close relationships (Browne & Finkelhor, 1986).
Clinical findings of adult victims of sexual abuse include problems in interpersonal relationships associated with an underlying mistrust. Generally, adult victims of incest have a severely strained relationship with their parents that is marked by feelings of mistrust, fear, ambivalence, hatred, and betrayal. These feelings may extend to all family members (Tsai and Wagner, 1978).
Guilt is experienced by almost all victims (Tsai and Wagner, 1978).
If a child victim does not resolve the trauma, sexuality may become an area of adult conflict (Courtois & Watts, 1982).
Adults who viewed domestic violence in the home as children have a greater difficulty holding jobs, maintaining relationships with their peers and have a higher risk of developing mental health disorders (Patterson, 1992).
Men appear to be prone to blame themselves for any sexual abuse they may have experienced as children (Mendel, 1993.)
The typical child sex offender molests an average of 117 children, most of who do not report the offence (National Institute of Mental Health, 1988).
It is estimated that approximately 71 % of child sex offenders are under 35 and knew the victim at least causally. About 80 % of these individuals fall within normal intelligence ranges; 59% gain sexual access to their victims through, seduction or enticement (Burgess & Groth, 1984).
S tress indicators such as unrealistic expectations of a child, unemployment and low self-esteem are important characteristics in perpetrators of child abuse (Health & Human Services, 1993).
Approximately 60 % of the male survivors samples report at least one of their perpetrators to be female (Mendel, 1993).