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Child Abuse & Neglect Frequently Asked Question #7

Published: September 16, 2012
Topics:
Child Abuse & Neglect

Question:

How many children are abused and neglected each year?

Answer:

The Child Maltreatment Reports provide information on the number of child victims in two different ways. First, the duplicate count of child victims counts a child each time he or she was found to be a victim of child abuse and/or neglect. Secondly, the unique count of child victims counts a child only once, regardless of how often the child is reported as a victim during the reporting year.

According to Child Maltreatment 2010, the most recent report of data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), a nationally estimated 754,000 duplicate and 695,000 unique number of children were found to be victims of child maltreatment in the Federal fiscal year (FFY) 2010. This year more than one-half of States (29) reported a decreased number of victims when compared to FFY 2009.

Based on the unique number of victims, an estimated 78 percent (78.3) suffered neglect, an estimated 18 percent (17.6) were physically abused, an estimated 9 percent (9.2) were sexually abused, an estimated 8 percent (8.1) were psychologically maltreated, and an estimated 2 percent (2.4) were medically neglected. In addition, an estimated 10 percent of victim (10.3) experienced "other" types of maltreatment such as "abandonment," "threats of harm to the child," and "congenital drug addiction."

States may code any condition that does not fall into the main categories – physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, medical neglect, and psychological or emotional maltreatment – as “other.” These maltreatment type percentages total more than 100 percent because children who were victims of more than one type of maltreatment were counted for each type of maltreatment. 

The full text of Child Maltreatment 2010 is available on the Children’s Bureau website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm10/index.htm.

Another report that may be of interest is the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4), released in January 2010. The NIS is a congressionally mandated, periodic research effort to assess the incidence of child abuse and neglect in the United States. For more information on this study as well as links to related documents, please see http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/abuse_neglect/natl_incid/index.h....

For a comprehensive listing of resources on child abuse and neglect statistics, please visit the website of Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children’s Bureau, at http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/statistics/index.cfm.