Overview

Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, or psychological maltreatment or neglect of a child or children. It occurs worldwide.

During 2015, an estimated 683,000 children in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico were determined to be victims of abuse or neglect. Nationally, 75.3 percent of victims experienced neglect and 17.2 percent were physically abused. For 2015, an estimated 1,670 children died due to child abuse or neglect -- a rate of 2.25 children per 100,000 in the national population.

The Developmental Victimization Survey, which gathered data on a range of victimizations from birth until adulthood over the course of one year reported the following:

  • Just more than half of youth (530 per 1000) experienced a physical assault. The highest rate of physical assault victimization occurred during between ages six and 12.

  • One in 12 (82 of 1000) youth experienced sexual victimization, including sexual assault (32 per 1000) and attempted or completed rape (22 per 1000).

  • Child maltreatment was experience by a little less than 1/7 of youth (138 per 1000). The study divided maltreatment into five categories (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and family abduction) of which emotional abuse (name calling or denigration by an adult) was most frequent in occurrence.

1 in 6 kids in America doesn't get the food they need every day. This takes a terrible toll on their health and development, and threatens their futures in profound ways. It also drags down our nation's economy by perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

A child who's being abused may feel guilty, ashamed or confused. He or she may be afraid to tell anyone about the abuse, especially if the abuser is a parent, other relative or family friend. In fact, the child may have an apparent fear of parents, adult caregivers or family friends. That's why it's vital to watch for red flags, such as:

  • Withdrawal from friends or usual activities

  • Changes in behavior — such as aggression, anger, hostility or hyperactivity — or changes in school performance

  • Depression, anxiety or unusual fears or a sudden loss of self-confidence

  • An apparent lack of supervision

  • Frequent absences from school or reluctance to ride the school bus

  • Reluctance to leave school activities, as if he or she doesn't want to go home

  • Attempts at running away

  • Rebellious or defiant behavior

  • Attempts at suicide

Children who experience childhood trauma do not heal from abuse easily.  Focused cognitive behavioral therapy, first developed to treat sexually abused children, is now used for victims of any kind of trauma. It targets trauma-related symptoms in children including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), clinical depression and anxiety. It also includes a component for non-offending parents.

Perpetrators: Over 80% (4 of 5) of perpetrators were parents; another 6.1% were relatives other than parents; 4.2% were unmarried partners of parents (2012 US HHS report). 54% of perpetrators were women and 45% of perpetrators were men.

I would love to hear from you to know what you’ve done, and if you have additional ideas of how others might take action. Email me at: Larry@Shieldthechildren.com

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