Child Neglect a Continuing Problem in U.S.

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Posted September 16, 2013

Cases of physical and sexual abuse of U.S. children seem to have declined over the past 20 years, but cases of neglect appear unchanged, health officials reported Thursday.

Child neglect accounts for about 75 percent of all cases of abuse, while physical abuse accounts for 15 percent and sexual abuse 10 percent, according to the study from the Institute of Medicine.

Boys and girls face about the same risk of neglect and abuse. In 80 percent of cases it’s parents who are the neglectors and abusers — and of these, 87 percent are biological parents. More than half the time the perpetrators are women, according to the report.

“These consequences not only affect individuals, but also their families and the broader society,” said report co-author Anne Petersen, a research professor at the University of Michigan’s Center for Human Growth and Development. “For example, the annual burden from child abuse and neglect is $80.3 billion.”

Of this total, $33.3 billion is direct costs, such as hospitalization, childhood mental health care, the child welfare system and law enforcement. There’s also $46.9 billion in indirect costs, including special education, early intervention and homelessness, according to the report — an update of a similar report released in 1993.

In 2011, state child protective services agencies dealt with nearly 677,000 children who were victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and other types of neglect — about nine out of every 1,000 children in the country, according to the report.

Read more at: MedlinePlus



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