The Child Abuse Issue
Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. It’s a widespread war against our children that we have the power to stop, and understanding the issue is the first step. Just how bad is the issue of child abuse in the United States?
Every year more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children (a referral can include multiple children).
The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing at the very least seven, and quiet possibly as many as thirteen children every day to child abuse and neglect.
A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
Yearly, referrals to state child protective services involve 6.6 million children, and around 3.2 million of those children are subject to an investigated report.
It is estimated that for every report of Child Abuse, three or more go unreported.
Physical Abuse ….. 28.3%
Sexual Abuse …… 20.7%
Emotional Neglect 14.8%
Emotional Abuse … 10.6%
Physical Neglect…. 9.9%
Medical Implications of Child Abuse
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention links adverse childhood experiences (which include other household dysfunctions along with abuse and neglect) with a range of long-term health impacts.
Individuals who reported six or more adverse childhood experiences had an average life expectancy two decades shorter than those who reported none.
Ischemic heart disease (IHD), Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), liver disease and other health-related quality of life issues are tied to child abuse.
Mental Health Disorders, Addictions, & Related Issues
- Risk for intimate partner violence
- Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
- Illicit drug abuse
- Smoking & drinking at an early age
- Suicide attempts
Sexual & Reproductive Health Issues and Risk Factors
- Multiple sexual partners
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Unintended pregnancies
- Early initiation of sexual activity
- Adolescent pregnancy and Fetal death
In one study, 80% of 21-year-olds who reported childhood abuse met the criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
Financial Impacts of Child Abuse
The long-term financial impact of abuse and neglect is staggering.
For new cases in 2008 alone, lifetime estimates of lost worker productivity, health care costs, special education costs, child welfare expenditures and criminal justice expenditures added up to $124 billion.
Child Abuse Fatalities
More than 70% of the children who died as a result of child abuse or neglect were two years of age or younger. More than 80% were not yet old enough for kindergarten.
Around 80% of child maltreatment fatalities involve at least one parent as perpetrator.
Behavioral Health and Crime Related to Child Abuse
Substance Abuse and child maltreatment are tragically and undeniably linked.
In a study of 513 children exposed to drugs in-utero, rates of abuse were two to three times that of other children in the same geographical area.
As many as two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused or neglected as children.
14% of all men in prison and 36% of women in prison in the USA were abused as children, about twice the frequency seen in the general population.
Children who experience child abuse & neglect are about 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity.