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According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), in 2009, there were over 3.2 million reports of child abuse in the United States. Of those, over 762,000 were considered substantiated victims.
Federal legislation provides guidance to States by identifying a minimum set of acts or behaviors that define child abuse and neglect. The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g), as amended by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum:
  • “Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation”; or “An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”
  • Federal legislation sets minimum standards for States that accept CAPTA funding, each State provides its own definitions of maltreatment within civil and criminal statutes.

Child Abuse Statistics

  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
  • More than 5 children will die each day as a result of child abuse.
  • Approximately 80% of children that die from abuse will be under the age of 4.
  • About 60% of child fatalities from abuse are not recorded on their death certificates.
  • Child abuse occurs on every socioeconomic level. It is recorded in all religions, ethic and cultural backgrounds.

Affect on Victims Later in life

  • More than 30% of abused and neglected children will go on to abuse their own children.
  • If the abuse was sexual, over 60% of victims will be sexually abused again or go on to sexually abuse someone else.
  • Psychological disorders are common in about 80% of children that were abused. Most are not diagnosed until adulthood.