Fewer child abuse and neglect victims for seventh consecutive year

The number of child abuse and maltreatment victims has dropped nationwide for the seventh consecutive year, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF). 

The report estimates there were 679,000 victims of child abuse or neglect across the country in 2013, down from 680,000 victims in 2012. Most states recognize four major types of maltreatment: neglect, physical abuse, psychological maltreatment and sexual abuse. Although any of the forms of child maltreatment may be found separately, they may also occur simultaneously.

The estimated number of fatalities attributable to child abuse and neglect also decreased to 1,520 in 2013. 

The report also provided more detailed insight into child fatality cases:

  • The national rate of child fatalities was 2.04 deaths per 100,000 children.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73.9 percent) of all child fatalities were younger than 3 years old.
  • Boys had a higher child fatality rate than girls at 2.36 boys per 100,000 boys in the population. Girls died of abuse and neglect at a rate of 1.77 per 100,000 girls in the population.
  • More than 85 percent (86.8 percent) of child fatalities were comprised of White (39.3 percent), African-American (33.0 percent), and Hispanic (14.5 percent) victims.
  • Four-fifths (78.9 percent) of child fatalities were caused by one or both parents.

View the full Child Maltreatment Report.


“We feel encouraged by the decline in victims and fatalities due to neglect and abuse. But there are still far too many children who are victimized in this country. We will continue to work closely with states to ensure we’re protecting children from abuse and harm.”
Mark Greenberg, Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families
Archived: November 14, 2017

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