Gentlereaders: The US Department of Health and Human Servicers reports considerable drops in child abuse, sexual child abuse and emotional abuse in their latest study.
There is little need for comment from us beyond the fact that virtually all measures of criminality (and there are more than your realize) show a continuous drop in most forms of criminality throughout the last two decades. These are cited throughout this site, but see http://crimeinamerica.net/crime-rates-united-states/ for a start or search the “Crime Statistics” category on the top of the site for additional information.
It would be wonderful to “know” precisely why crime is dropping for most categories, but quite frankly, we do not have a universally agreed upon consensus as to why.
Once again, your opinions are welcomed.
Crime in America.Net staff.
The National Incidence of Child Abuse and Neglect
The findings of the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect show an overall decrease in the incidence of maltreatment as well as decreases in some specific maltreatment categories and increases in others.
Incidence of Harm Standard maltreatment. Using the stringent Harm Standard definition, more than 1.25 million children (an estimated 1,256,600 children) experienced maltreatment during the NIS–4 study year (2005–2006). This corresponds to one child in every 58 in the United States. A large percentage (44%, or an estimated total of 553,300) were abused, while most (61%, or an estimated total of 771,700) were neglected. The NIS classifies children in every category that applies, so the components (here and throughout the NIS findings) sum to more than 100%. Most of the abused children experienced physical abuse (58% of the abused children, an estimated total of 323,000). Slightly less than one-fourth were sexually abused (24%, an estimated 135,300), while slightly more than one-fourth were emotionally abused (27%, an estimated 148,500). Almost one-half of the neglected children experienced educational neglect (47% of neglected children, an estimated 360,500 children), more than one-third were physically neglected (38%, an estimated 295,300 children), and one-fourth were emotionally neglected (25%, an estimated 193,400 children).
Unlike the dramatic increase in the incidence of Harm Standard maltreatment that occurred between the NIS–2 and NIS–3, where the rate increased by 56%, the NIS–4 reveals a smaller change since the NIS–3, in the opposite direction. The NIS–4 estimate of the incidence of overall Harm Standard maltreatment in the 2005–2006 study year reflects a 19% decrease in the total number of maltreated children since the NIS–3 in 1993. Taking into account the increase in the number of children in the United States over the interval, this change is equivalent to a 26% decline in the rate of overall Harm Standard maltreatment per 1,000 children in the population. This decrease is close-tosignificant, meaning the probability that it is due to chance factors is less than 10%. This decrease returned the incidence of Harm Standard maltreatment to a level that does not differ from the NIS–2 estimate for 1986.
The number of children who experienced Harm Standard abuse declined significantly, by 26%, from an estimated 743,200 in the NIS–3 to 553,300 in the NIS–4.
This reflects a 32% decrease in the rate of Harm Standard abuse per 1,000 children in the nation. Moreover, the incidence of all specific categories of abuse decreased: The incidence of sexual abuse decreased significantly, while the declines in physical abuse and emotional abuse were both close-to-significant:
- The estimated number of sexually abused children under the Harm Standard decreased from 217,700 in 1993 to 135,300 in 2005–2006 (a 38% decrease in the number of sexually abused children and a 44%decrease in the rate of sexual abuse);
- The number of children who experienced Harm Standard physical abuse decreased from an estimated 381,700 at the time of the NIS–3 to an estimated 323,000 in the NIS–4 (a 15% decrease in number and a 23% decline in the rate);
- The estimated number of emotionally abused children under the Harm Standard was 204,500 at the time of the NIS–3, which decreased to 148,500 during the NIS–4 (a 27% decrease in number; a 33% decline in the rate).
The incidence of Harm Standard neglect showed no statistically reliable changes since the NIS–3, neither overall nor in any of the specific neglect categories (physical, emotional, and educational neglect).
Classifying these abused and neglected children according to the level of injury or harm they suffered from Harm Standard maltreatment revealed only one change: a significant decrease in the incidence of children for whom injury could be inferred due to the severe nature of their maltreatment. This group declined from 165,300 children in the NIS–3 to 71,500 in the NIS–4 (a 57% decrease in number; a 60% decline in the rate in the population).
Incidence of Endangerment Standard maltreatment. Defining maltreatment according to the more inclusive Endangerment Standard provides a very different picture of the incidence and distribution of child abuse and neglect. Nearly 3 million children (an estimated 2,905,800) experienced Endangerment Standard maltreatment during the NIS–4 2005–2006 study year. This corresponds to one child in every 25 in the United States. While 29% (an estimated 835,000 children) were abused, more than three-fourths (77%, an estimated 2,251,600 children) were neglected. Most abused children (57%, or 476,600 children) were physically abused, more than one-third
(36%, or 302,600 children) were emotionally abused, and less than one-fourth (22%, or 180,500 children) were sexually abused. Under the Endangerment Standard definitions, more than one-half of the neglected children were physically neglected (53%, or 1,192,200 children) and a similar percentage were emotionally neglected (52%, or 1,173,800), whereas 16% (an estimated 360,500) were educationally neglected.
Between 1993 and 2005–2006, the overall incidence of children who experienced Endangerment Standard maltreatment showed no statistically reliable change. However, within Endangerment Standard maltreatment, counterbalancing changes occurred in the incidence of abuse and neglect. Significant decreases in the incidence of abuse and all specific categories of abuse contrast with a significant increase in the incidence of emotional neglect:
- The estimated number of children who experienced Endangerment Standard abuse decreased from 1,221,800 to 835,000 (a 32% decrease in number, a 38% decline in the rate);
- The estimated number of physically abused children decreased from an estimated 614,100 children to 476,600 (a 22% decrease in number, a 29% decline in the rate);
- The incidence of children with Endangerment Standard sexual abuse decreased from 300,200 in 1993 to 180,500 in 2005–2006 (reflecting a 40% decrease in number and a 47% decline in the rate);
- The incidence of emotionally abused children decreased from 532,200to 302,600 (a 43% decrease in number, a 48% decline in the rate); and
- The estimated number of emotionally neglected children more than doubled in the interval between the studies, rising from 584,100 in 1993 to 1,173,800 in 2005–2006 (a 101% increase in number, an 83%increase in the rate).
Classifying these children according to the severity of harm they suffered as a result of their Endangerment Standard maltreatment revealed no significant changes in the incidence of children with any specific level of injury or harm.