One child in every 25 in the United States is abused or neglected


The fourth cycle of the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect collected data in 2005–2006.

The National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS) reports information on children harmed or believed
to be harmed by maltreatment.

Child maltreatment includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, and physical, emotional, and educational neglect
by a caretaker. While the NIS does include children who were investigated by child protective services (CPS), it also represents
children who were recognized as maltreated by a wide array of community professionals (called “sentinels”) who are generally mandated reporters.

Combining these data sources, the NIS describes both abused and neglected children who are in the official CPS statistics as well as those who were not reported to CPS or who were screened out of CPS investigations.

Most maltreated children were neglected

Although the overall rates of children either harmed or endangered by abuse or neglect have not changed, there has been a shift in the types of maltreatment experienced by children.

All categories of abuse declined, but the rate of neglect, specifically emotional neglect, increased. This increase largely represents a dramatic increase in the rate of children exposed to domestic violence, which more than tripled from 2 children per 1,000 in 1993 to 7 children per 1,000 in 2005–2006.


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