12:29 PM 2/3/2012
Child Abuse: A Generational Plague
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
- Matthew 5:4
Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect, occurring at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at every level of education.
• A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
• 7 (Seven) or more children DIE, every day as a result of child abuse.
• Approximately 80% of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4.
• It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.
• More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way.
The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States in
2008 is $124 billion.
Child Maltreatment: Definitions
Any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm,
potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child.
Child Abuse (Acts of Commission)
Words or overt actions that cause harm, potential harm, or threat of harm to a child. Acts of commission are deliberate and intentional; however, harm to a child may or may not be the intended consequence. Intentional only applies to the caregivers' acts-not the consequences of those acts. For example, a caregiver may intend to hit a child as punishment (i.e., hitting the child is not accidental or unintentional) but not intend to cause the child to have a concussion. The following types of maltreatment involve acts of commission:
• Physical abuse
• Sexual abuse
• Psychological abuse
Acts of Omission (Child Neglect)
The failure to provide for a child's basic physical, emotional, or educational needs or to protect a child from harm or potential harm. Like acts of commission, harm to a child may or may not be the intended consequence.
The following types of maltreatment involve acts of omission:
• Failure to provide
o Physical neglect
o Emotional neglect
o Medical/dental neglect
o Educational neglect
• Failure to supervise
o Inadequate supervision
o Exposure to violent environments
Why is a Consistent Definition Important?
A consistent definition is needed to monitor the incidence of child maltreatment and examine trends over time. In addition, it helps determine the magnitude of child maltreatment and compare the problem across jurisdictions.
The Problem of Child Maltreatment
Child maltreatment is a considerable social and public health problem in the United States. In 2004, data collected from Child Protective Services (CPS) determined approximately 900,000 children in the United States were victims of child maltreatment and about 1,500 children died because of abuse or neglect (US DHHS, 2006). Unfortunately, these numbers likely underestimate the number of children affected by maltreatment due to under reporting and focus on a single data source.
No public health based definitions for child maltreatment exist, public health officials continue to use terms related to child maltreatment in
different ways and use different terms to describe the same acts. Not surprising, these inconsistencies have contributed to varied conclusions
about the incidence and prevalence of child abuse and neglect.
Research into the consequences of child maltreatment has identified various acute and severe negative outcomes such as death, injury, and traumatic brain injury. Research has also uncovered many deleterious long-term developmental outcomes: academic problems, anxiety, conduct disorder, childhood aggression, delinquency, depression, increased risk for suicide, high-risk sexual behavior, interpersonal problems,
poor physical health, post traumatic stress disorder, risky health behaviors, substance abuse, and youth violence
Child abuse deaths on the rise in AZ?