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The Big Secret


Unless you are in the Child Abuse movement, I would bet that you didn't know that almost two-thirds of the perpetrators of child maltreatment are women and that 68% of these women are younger than 30. This is not to hide the fact that there are a substantial number of male perpetrators and that men represent 77% of the perpetrators of sexual abuse. However, in this category, parents are the perpetrators in 50% of all cases with mothers as the perpetrator in over 27% of cases, fathers in over 35% of cases, less than an 8% difference.

It does bring out a curious situation that women, and particularly young women are the primary overall perpetrators in all the remaining categories of child maltreatment (physical abuse, neglect, medical neglect, psychological abuse and other abuse) and no one seems to let that fact be known.

I wonder how many men whose partners abuses the children, are afraid to report the situation because they (1) Assume that women are the primary nurturers of children and that men are the primary abusers so the neglect, psychological, and physical abuse of the children must not be that bad, or (2) If he reports it, the finger might be pointed at him (which happens in many such cases).

What these men should know is that women, not men are the primary abusers of children and that if they don't report her actions and someone else does, he is likely to serve more time than she does. After all, it is the man in this culture who has been assigned the role of protector. And, while it is scary and sometimes dangerous to report a woman perpetrator, it is more devastating to the children, and possibly to you, not to report her.

Information can be given through a therapist, health care professional, lawyer, or educational personnel (most of whom are required by law in most states to report this information to Child Protective Services) or directly with the police. For your own safety, so there is less likelihood of you being accused as the perpetrator (assuming you are not a perpetrator), a lawyer or therapist might be the best route.

Snippets


  •  The United States leads the world in homicides against children and youth under age 15, accounting for 73 percent of all homicides-and 54 percent of all suicides-of children from birth to age 15 in the world's top 26 industrialized countries. The causes include guns, motor vehicles and child abuse" (CWLA). See also www.cwla.org/advocacy/memorialflagdescription.htm
  • Of the six categories of maltreatment, 62% of all perpetrators were female and females lead in five of the six categories. (Physical abuse - 52%, neglect - 74%, medical neglect - 82%, sexual abuse - 26%, psychological abuse - 52%, and other abuse - 57%.)
  • Perpetrators of maltreatment tend to be young and female: 81% of the perpetrators were under the age of 40 and females lead in each of those categories: 0-19 - 52%, 20-29 - 72%, 30-39 - 63% . Males lead in the 40-49 - 51% and 50+ - 51%.
  • Slightly more victims of maltreatment were female (52%). They represent 48% of physical abuse victims, 48% neglect, 47% medical neglect, 77% of sexual abuse, 51% of psychological abuse and 51% of other abuse.
  • 84% of child fatalities happened with perpetrators under the age of 40. Females led overall representing 63% of the perpetrators of child fatalities and led in each of these age categories 0-19 - 67%, 20-29 - 69%, 30-39 - 54% and represented 75% of the 50+ category. Males lead in the 40-49 - 56% which represented only 10% of total child fatalities.
  • 57% of child fatalities were male.
  • Over three-quarters of child fatalities were under the age of 4: 0-3 - 77%, 4-7 - 13%, 8-11 - 4%, 12-13 - 4% and 16+ - 2%.
  • Three-quarters of perpetrators of child maltreatment were parents, and an additional tenth were other relatives. Non Caretakers represented 5%,child care providers 0.9%, foster parents 0.5%, facility staff 0.3% and 8% are unknown.
  • Nearly 3 million children were alleged victims of maltreatment (42 children per 1,000). 34% resulted in a disposition of either substantiated or indicated child maltreatment. 56% resulted in a finding that child maltreatment was not substantiated.
  • More than half of child abuse and neglect reports were received from professionals. (Substantiated/unsubstantiated) Educational personnel represented 15% of all reports (28%/51%). Legal personnel represented 13% of reports (47%/32%). Social services/Mental Health personal re[resented 13% of reports (30%/48%). Anonymous Reports represent 10% of reports (16%/64%). Medical Personnel represented 10% of reports (42%/41%).
  • A comparison of victims by type of maltreatment, 1990 to 1997: neglect has increased 8% to 56% of all cases, Physical abuse has dropped 2% to 25%, sexual abuse has dropped 4% to 13%, other has increased 2% to 12%, and psychological abuse or neglect has dropped slightly to 6%.
  • Victims by race (% of population/% of victims): Whites: 79%/67%. African American: 15%/30%. American Indian/Alaska Native: 1%/3%, Asian/Pacific Islander: 5%/1%.

* Source: Child Maltreatment 1997: Reports from the States to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 330 C Street, SW, Washington, DC 20447 800.FYI-3366 or www.calib.com/nccanch. Publication available online at www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb

Child Maltreatment


The number of children who were victims of child maltreatment increased from 826,000 in 1999 to 879,000 in 2000, reversing a decline between 1996 and 1999. (See Table 1)

Importance

The causes of child maltreatment are not well understood, although abuse and, especially, neglect, are more common in poor and extremely poor families than in families with higher incomes.1 Child abuse or neglect is often associated with physical injuries, delayed physical growth, and even neurological damage. Child maltreatment is also associated with psychological problems such as aggression, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also linked to an increased risk of substance abuse in later life.2 In extreme cases, child abuse and neglect can lead to death. In 2000, approximately 1,200 children died as the result of abuse or neglect.3

In the national statistical system that tracks child maltreatment, children are counted as victims if an investigation by the state child welfare agency classifies their case as either "substantiated" or "indicated" child maltreatment. Substantiated cases are those in which an allegation of maltreatment or risk of maltreatment was supported or founded according to state law or policy. Indicated cases are those in which an allegation of maltreatment or risk of maltreatment could not be substantiated, but there was reason to suspect maltreatment or the risk of maltreatment.4

Trends

Between 1990 and 1996, the number of children for whom child abuse or neglect was either substantiated or indicated rose from nearly 861,000 to over 1,012,000-a rate of 14.7 maltreated children per thousand U.S. children under age 18 in 1996. Between 1996 and 1999, the trend reversed as the number of maltreated children dropped to around 829,000. However, the number of maltreated children once again increased in 2000 to 879,000-a rate of 12.2 maltreated children per thousand U.S. children. (See Table 1)

Among maltreated children, the percentage reported as sexually abused declined from 17 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2000. Similarly, the percentage reported as physically abused declined from 27 percent to 19 percent over the same period. Conversely, the percentage of maltreated children reported as neglected increased from 49 percent in 1990 to 60 percent in 2000.

Differences by Age

Although children age one and under accounted for 11 percent of all children under age 18 in 2000, they accounted for 15 percent of child maltreatment victims. Children ages 14-17, on the other hand, are underrepresented among victims of child maltreatment (22 percent of the child population but only 15 percent of the victims). (See Figure 1)

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin

Blacks and American Indian or Alaskan Natives are overrepresented among victims of child maltreatment. Although blacks account for 15 percent of all children, they accounted for 25 percent of child maltreatment victims in 2000. American Indian or Alaska natives are also overrepresented (1 percent of population versus 2 percent of victims). Conversely, white children (79 percent of population versus 51 percent of victims) and Asian or Pacific Islander children (5 percent of population versus 1 percent of victims) are underrepresented among victims of child maltreatment. Hispanics account for a nearly equal share of the population and victims (16 percent and 14 percent, respectively). (See Figure 2)

Related Indicators

Mothers Who Smoke While Pregnant, Foster Care, Attitudes Toward Spanking, Parental Warmth and Affection, Violent Victimization of Youth

State and Local Estimates

State estimates for 2000 are available at:

www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/cm00/table2_5.htm

www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/cm00/table3_8.htm


National Goals


The Healthy People 2010 initiative has set a goal to reduce child maltreatment (from 12.9 per 1,000 in 1998 to 10.3 per 1,000 by 2010) and maltreatment fatalities in children (from 1.6 per 100,000 in 1998 to 1.4 per 100,000 by 2010).

For additional information visit: www.health.gov/healthypeople/document/html/objectives/15-33.htm (Goal 15-33

Research References

1National Research Council, Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1993.

2Guterman, N.B., Stopping Child Maltreatment Before It Starts: Emerging Horizons in Early Home Visitation Services. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2001.

3Administration on Children, Youth and Families. "National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) Summary of Key Findings from Calendar Year 2000" (April 2002). www.calib.com/nccanch/prevmnth/scope/ncands.cfm

4U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families. "Child Maltreatment 1999," 2001. www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/cm99/

5Estimates for whites, blacks, American Indian/Alaskan Native and Asian/Pacific Islanders include Hispanics.

6Christoffel, K.K., Scheidt, P.C., Agran, P.F., Kraus, J.F., McLoughlin, E. & Paulson, J.A. "Standard Definitions for Childhood Injury Research: Excerpts of a Conference Report." Pediatrics 89:1027-1034, 1992.

7U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families. "Child Maltreatment 1999," 2001. www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/cm99/

Definition

Child maltreatment can be defined as "behavior towards [a child] . . . which (a) is outside the norms of conduct, and (b) entails a substantial risk of causing physical or emotional harm. Behaviors included will consist of actions and omissions, ones that are intentional and ones that are unintentional."6 Four types of maltreatment are generally recognized, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and emotional maltreatment.

In the national statistical system that tracks child maltreatment, children are counted as victims if an investigation by the state child welfare agency classifies their case as either "substantiated" or "indicated" child maltreatment. Substantiated cases are those in which an allegation of maltreatment or risk of maltreatment was supported or founded according to state law or policy. Indicated cases are those in which an allegation of maltreatment or risk of maltreatment could not be substantiated, but there was reason to suspect maltreatment or the risk of maltreatment.7

Data Source

All estimates for 2000: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Child Maltreatment 2000. Washington, D.C.: U.S. GPO. 2002. www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/cmreports.htm

Population estimates for 2000: Population Estimates Program, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau. Internet release date: April 11, 2000. eire.census.gov/popest/archives/national/nat_90s_detail/nat_90s_1.php

All estimates for 1990-1999 (except rate per 1,000): Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth 2001. Table HC 2.10 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/01trends/ (See Table HC 2.10

Rate per 1000 for 1990-1999: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families. "Child Maltreatment 1999." www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/cm99/

Raw Data Source

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau, National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). www.calib.com/nccanch/

Approximate Date of Next Update, June 2003, www.childtrendsdatabank.org/health/violence/40ChildMaltreatment.htm

Non-Familia Maltreatment


By far the majority of child sexual molestation happens within the family. The remainder falls into the following categories.

Type of Incident

2002
2001
2000
1999
1998

Grand Total

43,078

24,442

19,245

9,668

4,560

Child Pormography 1

37,647

21,611

16,724

7,736

3,267

Child Prostitution 2

587

346

287

187

142

Child Sex Tourism 3

239

151

142

135

79

Child Sexual Molstation 4

1,474

794

634

471

365

Online Enticement 5

2,782

1,540

1,458

1,139

707

Unsolicited Material 6

349

NA
NA
NA
NA
Source: Cybertipline.com

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