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Child abuse in the U.S - Statistics & Facts

Child abuse comes in several different forms, and includes physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological abuse. The signs of child abuse include unexplained bruises, overly aggressive behavior, lack of necessities, and drastic changes in behavioral and eating habits. Unfortunately, child abuse remains common throughout the world, including in the United States. In 2018, there were 677,529 reported cases of child abuse, and the most common form of maltreatment in the U.S. was neglect.

Child Protective Services (CPS) is a governmental agency in the United States that takes care of child abuse cases. Child abuse protective services vary from state to state, but it maintains the responsibility to respond to child abuse cases accordingly. CPS determines the legitimacy of the accusations and supplies resources for the affected children to protect them. If children are deemed unsafe in their homes as a result of abuse from their parents or guardians, the children will be consequently removed to keep them safe. Missouri had the highest number of completed reports per investigation and alternative response worker in 2018, with 176 cases.

Child abuse happens across all races and genders, but American Indian and Alaska Native children had the highest rate of child abuse in the U.S. based on race and ethnicity, at 15.2 per 1,000 kids, and slightly more girls were abused than boys in 2018. A little over 165,000 children ages two to five were abused in the United States in 2018, which is the most common age of abuse victims.

The number of child fatalities due to abuse or maltreatment has remained relatively steady since 2007, and in 2019, there were 1,738 deaths from child abuse or maltreatment. In 2018, about 4.85 children died every day as a result of abuse and neglect. A victim may be abused multiple times by the same perpetrator or a combination of them. Most child abuse victims were abused by their mothers, fathers, or a combination of both.

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Child abuse in the U.S.

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