Investigations by State child protective services agencies in 48 States determined that 1,012,000 children were victims of child abuse and neglect in 1994. This figure represents a 27 percent increase since 1990, when approximately 800,000 children were found to be victims of maltreatment.

In 1994, State CPS agencies received and referred for investigation an estimated 2 million reports alleging the maltreatment of 2.9 million children. More than half of all reports alleging maltreatment come from professionals, including educators, law enforcement and justice officials, medical professionals, social service professionals, and child care providers. About 18 percent of reports come from persons related to the victim or from the victim himself. Approximately 10 percent of all reports are from anonymous or unknown sources.

Among the children for whom maltreatment was substantiated or indicated in 1994, about 53 percent suffered neglect, 26 percent physical abuse, 14 percent sexual abuse, 5 percent emotional abuse, 3 percent medical neglect, and 19 percent other forms of maltreatment. Some children were victims of more than one type of maltreatment.

Forty-three States reported that 1,111 children died as a result of child maltreatment in 1994. During the 5-year period from 1990 to 1994, State CPS agencies reported that a total of 5,400 children died as a result of abuse or neglect.

In 1994, about 27 percent of all victims of child maltreatment were 3 years old or younger, and another 20 percent were between the ages of 4 and 6. Just over one-fifth of victims are youth ages 13 - 18. About 52 percent of all victims are female and 47 percent are male.

Several studies suggest that even more children suffer from abuse or neglect than are seen through official statistics from State CPS agencies. Based on reports received and investigated, nearly 16 children per 1,000 children under age 18 in the population were found by CPS agencies to be victims of abuse or neglect in 1993. Preliminary results from the Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (a study involving 5,700 community professionals who come into contact with children) estimate that almost 44 children per 1,000 in the population may have been victims of abuse or neglect that year. A 1996 telephone survey by the Gallup Poll asking 1,000 parents about their treatment of their own children estimated that as many as 49 children per 1,000 in the population suffered physical abuse and 19 per 1,000 suffered sexual abuse.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Child Maltreatment 1994: Reports from the States to the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1996).

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HAS Fact Sheet, "Preliminary Findings Regarding Child Abuse and Neglect," (released December 7, 1995).

Disciplining Children in America: A Gallup Poll Report, December 1995.

Please send all comments and questions on this subject to: NCCAN Comments
This Web Site maintained by Houston Associates, Inc. Please send all technical questions to: Webmaster

Last Modified on April 18, 1996