State child protective services (CPS) agencies
received approximately 3 million referrals, involving an estimated
5.5 million children, alleging abuse or neglect in 2004. Over half
of these reports were made by community professionals, such as teachers
and other educational personnel, medical personnel, and daycare
Investigations determined that an estimated 872,000
children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2004; this is equivalent
to a rate of about 11.9 per 1,000 children under 18 years of age.
Neglect was the most common type of maltreatment (7.4 per 1,000
children), followed by physical abuse (2.1 per 1,000). Other types
of abuse included sexual abuse, psychological maltreatment, medical
neglect, and categories of abuse based on specific State laws and
policies. Some children suffer multiple types of maltreatment.
Victimization rates were highest among young children.
In 2004, the rate of victimization among children from birth to
age 3 was 16.1 per 1,000 children of the same age; the rate declined
steadily as age increased. A majority of perpetrators of abuse and
neglect, almost 80 percent, were parents. Remaining types of perpetrators
included other relatives (6.5 percent), unmarried partners of parents
(4.1 percent), and professionals such as daycare workers and residential
facility staff (1.1 percent). Foster parents account for 0.4 percent
of perpetrators, while friends and neighbors account for 0.3 percent.
Data were obtained from the National Child Abuse
and Neglect Data System, the primary source of national information
on abused and neglected children known to State CPS agencies.