Child Maltreatment is Underreported

maltreatmentAccording to new research, by the time they reach age 18, about 12 percent of American children are maltreated: neglected or abused physically, emotionally, or sexually.[1] Even more disturbing in that researchers at Yale University found that one in five black children and one in seven Native American children experience maltreatment.1

The authors of the study estimated that the cumulative prevalence of confirmed childhood maltreatment by age 18 using the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System Child File, a system that includes information of all U.S. children with a confirmed report of maltreatment.1 Their analysis of data between 2004 and 2011 showed that over 5.6 million children had experienced maltreatment during this period.1

“Confirmed child maltreatment is dramatically underestimated in this country,” said first author Christopher Wildeman, PhD. “Our findings show that it is far more prevalent than the one in 100 that is currently reported.”1

Wildeman and his colleagues at other institutions and in the Yale Departments of Pediatrics and Sociology provided cumulative estimates that confirmed child maltreatment is common.1

“Maltreatment is on the scale of other major public health concerns that affect child health and wellbeing,” said Wildeman. “Because child maltreatment is also a risk factor for poor mental and physical health outcomes throughout life, the results of this study provide valuable epidemiologic information.”1

[1] Nauert, R. (2014). Study Finds Underreporting of Child Maltreatment. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 6, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/06/05/study-finds-underreporting-of-child-maltreatment/70848.html

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