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State child protective services agencies received reports alleging the maltreatment of approximately 4.5 million children in 2002. Over half of these reports were received from community professionals, while the remainder was received from family, friends, relatives, or neighbors of these children.

In 2002, investigations by State child protective services agencies determined that an estimated 896,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect, equivalent to a rate of 12.3 per 1,000 children under 18 years of age. Approximately 60 percent of all victims suffered neglect, 19 percent physical abuse, 10 percent sexual abuse, 7 percent psychological maltreatment, and 19 percent other forms of maltreatment. Some children suffered multiple types of maltreatment.

Victimization was highest among the youngest children. In 2002, 16 percent of victims were newborns to age 3, while 6 percent were 16 to 17 years old. Among the estimated 1,400 children who died of abuse and neglect, children under 1 year of age accounted for 41.2 percent of fatalities and children under 7 years accounted for 87.9 percent. Of the child fatalities that occurred in 2002, 79 percent involved a parent as a perpetrator.

The 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 child protective services agencies.

Graph: Child Abuse and Neglect Among Children[d]

Graph: Sources of Maltreatment Reports[d]