12:13 pm

  Local News
  State / National / World
  Opinion / Letters
  Arts / Entertainment
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  DJ Designers
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
New data: Child abuse down slightly, fatalities up
December 18, 2013, 05:00 AM The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The number of U.S. children victimized by abuse and neglect has dropped for the sixth straight year, but child fatalities linked to maltreatment increased by nearly 4 percent, according to the latest federal data.

According to the annual report released Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services, the estimated number of victimized children in the 2012 fiscal year was 686,000. That’s down from 688,000 in 2011 and from 723,000 in 2007.

But the report found that fatalities attributable to child abuse and neglect increased from 1,580 in 2011 to 1,640 in 2012.

HHS said further research would be needed to determine whether this represented a real increase in child fatalities or reflected improvements in how states investigate and report these cases to determine which can be attributed to abuse.

Two years ago, a Government Accountability Office report asserted that states used flawed methods to tally and analyze the deaths of children who have been maltreated. It said annual estimates of such deaths were likely too low.

About 70 percent of the 2012 fatalities involved children younger than 3, and parents were the perpetrators in 80 percent of the cases. Texas reported the most fatalities, with 215, followed by Florida with 179 and California with 128.

Overall, white children accounted for about 44 percent of the victims of maltreatment, black children about 21 percent and Hispanic children about 22 percent; 78.3 percent of the victims suffered neglect, 18.3 percent were physically abused and 9.3 percent were sexually abused. The report tallied 62,936 children who were sexually abused in 2012 — up slightly from 2011 but down considerably from the peak of about 150,000 in 1992.

The report, formally known as the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, is based on input from child protection agencies in every state.

Sociologist David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center, said the changes from 2011 to 2012 appeared to be minor, which he took as a positive sign.

“The key thing everyone has been on the lookout for is whether several years of economic stress and high unemployment have been taking their toll on family life and increasing the inclination to take it out kids, while state budget cuts make protection less available,” Finkelhor wrote in an email.

Given the pessimistic expectations, Finkelhor wrote, the minimal change depicted in the report “is good news.”

Jim Hmurovich, president of Prevent Child Abuse America, said he also was pleased by the steady decrease in maltreatment reports, but expressed some regret that the department did not provide more insight on what factors might be driving that trend.

“It’s hard to evaluate whether we’re making a difference, or how we’re making a difference,” he said.



2012 report:


Follow David Crary on Twitter at



Tags: percent, children, report, child, about, abuse,

Other stories from today:


Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
Return To Archives

Daily Journal Quick Poll
What do you think of the pending closure of Tpumps in downtown San Mateo?

Surprised, it was super popular
Makes sense, the shop was too small
Hope they find their way back to San Mateo soon
There are plenty of other boba tea places
Glad, boba drinks make the sidewalks a sticky mess


Senate's Harry Reid announces he won't seek re-election
WASHINGTON — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, the wily Nevadan who dominated the Senate for a ..
Israel to stop withholding Palestinian tax revenue
JERUSALEM — Israel said Friday that it will transfer Palestinian tax revenues it has been withhold..
Magnitude-4.2 quake shakes central California; no damage
COALINGA — A small earthquake jolted an area of central California, but there were no reports of d..
More >>  
©2015 San Mateo Daily Journal
San Mateo County politics