Statistic of Child Abuse
Child Abuse Statistics
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. In 75% of these cases, the abuser will be a family member or someone well known to the child.
- In 1996, family members were responsible for the majority of assaults against very young children. Almost 70% of victims under the age of three were physically assaulted by family members, and parents accounted for 85% of these.
- According to a Health Canada study, two-thirds of murdered infants are killed by a parent, and this pattern holds for other young children.
- Girls were the victims of assaults by family members more often than were boys. Victims were female in 56% of physical assaults and almost 80% of sexual assaults.
- Fathers made up a large majority (80%) of parents accused of assaulting their children.
Child Abuse Statistics
A Canadian child abuse statistics survey done by Bibby in 2000 (2001 (1)) revealed that 56% of adolescents rated child abuse as their top societal concern. It would be very easy to brush this statistic off by saying ‘what do they know, they’re just kids’. But before you set this adolescent concern aside, consider that in a decade or two or three these same ‘kids’ will be our lawyers and judges and lawmakers. These same ‘kids’ are our future. We owe it to ourselves to take the statistic seriously
DID YOU KNOW: Adolescents experience maltreatment at rates equal to or exceeding those of younger children (Council on Scientific Affairs, 1993, p. 1850 (2)).
DID YOU KNOW: Identification of adolescent maltreatment victims is medically important because youth with a history of victimization are more likely to engage in a variety of health risk behaviours and are more likely to be future victims or perpetrators of domestic violence (Council on Scientific Affairs, 1993, p. 1850 (3)).
Some Worldwide Child Abuse Statistics
- Worldwide, approximately 40 million children are subjected to child abuse each year (WHO, 2001 (4)).
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents around the world (WHO, 2002 (5)).
- One study revealed that about 30% of all severely disabled children relegated to special homes in the Ukraine died before they reached 18 years of age (Human Rights Watch, 2001 (6)).
- UNICEF estimates that two million children died as a result of armed conflict during a recent 10-year period, and that another six million were injured or disabled (Human Right Watch, 2001 (7)).
- In Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, over 6.5 million children annually are exposed to unwanted sexual materials over the Internet; over 1.7 million of these report distress over exposure to these materials (Estes & Weiner, 2001 (8)).
- Each year, approximately one million more children around the world are introduced into commercial sexual exploitation (Casa Alianza, 2001 (9)).
- Sexual abuse statistics vary between countries and reports, but are consistently alarming: One country’s research indicates that up to 36% of girls and 29% of boys have suffered child sexual abuse; another study reveals up to 46% of girls and 20% of boys have experienced sexual coercion (The 57th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights (10)).
Canadian Child Abuse Statistics
#1. Canadian Child Abuse Statistics - In a study of runaways presenting at an emergency ward who reported a history of maltreatment, 83% had disabilities as compared to 47% of the non-maltreatment runaways. Using information collected from schools, 34% of the maltreated had disabilities as opposed to 17% of the non-maltreated runaways (Sullivan, et al., 2000 (11)).
#2. Canadian Child Abuse Statistics - A major reason that young people leave home is in order to escape from sexual and/or physical abuse in their family–the average age they leave is 15 (Beauvais et al., 2001 (12)). PERSONAL NOTE: I was 16 when I left home for good because of physical and emotional abuse, but not before running away many times. Check out my story.
#3. Canadian Child Abuse Statistics - The average age of entry into the sex trade in Canada is between 14 years of age in British Columbia and 17 in Ontario (Estes, 2001 (13)).
#4. Canadian Child Abuse Statistics - Close to one-third of teens between ages 14 and 19 who participated in a Canadian study had experienced some kind of childhood abuse or neglect (Wolfe, 2001 (14)).
#5. Canadian Child Abuse Statistics - In the same Canadian study mentioned in #4, girl victims reported emotional distress, post-traumatic-stress related symptoms and acts of both violent and non-violent delinquency. Boy victims of child maltreatment reported far less emotional distress and delinquent behaviours; however, they were far more likely to assault their dating partners (Wolfe, 2001 (15)).
#6. Canadian Child Abuse Statistics - A telephone survey undertaken across Canada in 2002 found that 62% of Canadians felt that the problem of domestic violence in Canadian society has increased in the past 10 years. And of the 55 homicides of children and youth in 2000, family members killed 31 of the victims (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2002 (16)).
#7. Canadian Child Abuse Statistics – Children and youth who received high levels of negative parenting practices (i.e. physical punishment, scolding and yelling) were more likely to be involved in aggressive behaviours (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2002 (17)).
#8. Canadian Child Abuse Statistics - Sexually exploited youth (SEY) almost always have a history of abuse. Studies show that 90% of SEY females have been physically abused as opposed to 24% of females in school. 88% of SEY females report sexual abuse as opposed to 21% of females in school. Respondents reported that the abuse was perpetrated mostly by family and friends, followed by pimps or tricks (McCreary Centre Society, 1999 (18)).
#9. Canadian Child Abuse Statistics - A British Columbia-wide study showed that gay and lesbian youth are much more likely to have experienced abuse than heterosexual youth. 61% have been physically abused and 40% have been sexually abused as opposed to 20% and 12% respectively (McCreary Centre Society, 1999 (19)).
#10. Canadian Child Abuse Statistics -Among the population of Canada’s children and youth:
- 28.6% are vulnerable to physical and/or emotional injury
- 12.8% have low cognitive skills
- 19.1% have one or more behavioural problems
- 3% have both cognitive and behavioural problems
Poor cognitive and behavioural outcomes can be considered the most significant risk factor (Willms, 2002, pp. 66-69 (20)). NOTE: Child abuse statistics do not accurately reflect child abuse, because child abuse is so under-reported.
(1) Bibby, R. (2001). Canada’s Teens. Toronto: Stoddart.
(2) & (3) Council on Scientific Affairs. (1993, October 20). Adolescents as victims of family violence. Journal of the American Medical Association, 270(15), 1850-1856.
(4) World Health Organization. (2001). Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect: Making the links between human rights and public health. Geneva: World Health Organization.
(5) World Health Organization. (2002). World report on violence and health. Geneva: World Health Organization.
(6) & (7) Human Rights Watch. (2001). Easy Targets: Violence against children worldwide.
(8) Estes, R.J. & Weiner, N.A. (2001). The commercial sexual exploitation of children in the US, Canada and Mexico. University of Pennsylvania.
(9) Casa Alianza. (2001, December 18). Report on trafficking of children in Central America and Mexico. Retrieved December 18, 2001 from http://www.casa-alianza.org
(10) United Nations. The 57th session of the UN commission on human rights. Geneva: The United Nations.
(11) Sullivan, P. & Knutson, J. (2000). The prevalence of disabilities and maltreatment among runaway children. Child Abuse and Neglect, 24(10), 1275-1288.
(12) Beauvais, C., McKay, L., & Seddon, A. (2001). A literature review on youth and citizenship. Canadian Policy Research Network Discussion Paper No. CPRN/02., 50.
(13) Estes, R.J. & Weiner, N.A. (2001). The commercial sexual exploitation of children in the US, Canada and Mexico. University of Pennsylvania.
(14) & (15) Wolfe, D. (2001, March). Child maltreatment: Risk of adjustment problems and dating violence in adolescence. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40, 282-289.
(16) Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. (2002). Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile 2002. Ottawa: Government of Canada.
(17) Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. (2002). Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile 2002. Ottawa: Government of Canada.
(18) McCreary Centre Society. (1999). Our kids too: Sexually exploited youth in B.C.: An adolescent health survey. Burnaby: McCreary Centre Society.
(19) McCreary Centre Society. (1999). Being out: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth in B.C.: An adolescent health survey. Burnaby: McCreary Centre Society.
(20) Willms, J. (2002). Vulnerable children: Findings from Canada’s national longitudinal survey of children and youth. Edmonton: The University of Alberta Press.
I. How many children are abused and neglected in the United States?
Although the incidence of child abuse and neglect has been decreasing in recent years, more than 1.25 million, or 1 in every 58 children in the United States, were abused in 2006.
More than half (61 percent) of the children (771,700 children) were victims of neglect, meaning a parent or guardian failed to provide for the child’s basic needs. Forms of neglect include educational neglect (360,500 children), physical neglect (295,300 children), and emotional neglect (193,400).
Another 44 percent were victims of abuse (553,300 children), including physical abuse (325,000 children), sexual abuse (135,000 children), and emotional abuse (148,500 children).
An average of nearly four children die every day as a result of child abuse or neglect (1,760 in 2007).
Other child abuse statistics from the “Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect” include that:
- Children whose parents are unemployed have about two times the rate of child abuse and two to three times the rate of neglect than children with employed parents
- Children in low socioeconomic families have more than three times the rate of child abuse and seven times the rate of neglect than other children
- Living with their married biological parents places kids at the lowest risk for child abuse and neglect, while living with a single parent and a live-in partner increased the risk of abuse and neglect to more than eight times that of other children
Abuse Statistics – Family Violence in Canada
The impact of abuse
In 1999, the McCreary Adolescent Health Survey II (1) found that:
35% of girls and 16% of boys between grades 7 – 12 had been sexually and/or physically abused
Among girls surveyed, 17-year-olds experienced the highest rate of sexual abuse at 20%
In their 2001 report on Family Violence in Canada (2), The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics found that children who are exposed to physical violence in their homes are:
more than twice as likely to be physically aggressive as those who have not had such exposure;
more likely to commit delinquent acts against property
more likely to display emotional disorders and hyperactivity
University of Victoria’s Sexual Assault Centre (3)posts the following childhood sexual abuse statistics:
1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males in Canada experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18.
80% of all child abusers are the father, foster father, stepfather or another relative or close family friend of the victim.
Incestuous relationships last 7 years on average
75% of mothers are not aware of the incest in their family
60-80% of offenders in a study of imprisoned rapists had been molested as children
80% of prostitutes and juvenile delinquents, in another study, were sexually abused as children.
Most common types of abuse
In their 2001 report on Family Violence in Canada (2), The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics found that:
69% of substantiated physical abuse involved inappropriate punishment
68% of substantiated sexual abuse involved touching and fondling
58% of substantiated emotional maltreatment involved exposure to family violence
48% of substantiated cases of neglect primarily involved failure to supervise the child properly, which lead to physical harm
Abusers are commonly known to the survivor
In their 2001 report on Family Violence in Canada (2), The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics found that family members, including relatives, constituted the vast majority (93%) of alleged perpetrators. Another statistical study conducted in 2001 by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (4)found that:
among family assaults parents were the perpetrators in 56% of physical assaults against youths and 43% of sexual assaults against youth victims 12 to 17 years of age;
siblings were responsible for approximately 25% of physical and 26% of sexual assaults in the family that were perpetrated against youth
extended family members committed 8% of physical, and 28% of sexual assaults against youth
A BC snapshot
In a snapshot taken on April 17, 2000 (5), in British Columbia, there were 689 residents in shelters: 54% were women and 46% were children.
82% were women escaping abusive situations
of the women escaping abuse, 32% indicated they were also protecting their children from psychological abuse, 28% from witnessing abuse of their mother, 13% from threats, 9% from physical abuse, 5% from neglect, and 5% from sexual abuse
(1) McCreary Centre Society. Healthy Connections: Listening to BC Youth, 1999, p. 17.
(2) Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2001, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada, 2001 (Catalogue No. 85-224-XIE)
(3) Child Sexual Abuse Statistics, compiled by the National Advisory Council of Women, quoted by University of Victoria’s Sexual Assault Centre
(4) Children and Youth in Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada, June 2001 (Catalogue no. 85F0033MIE)
(5) Transition Home Survey 1999 – 2000, British Columbia Fact Sheet, Statistics Canada (Catalogue no. 85-404-MIE)
Child Abuse in America
Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Over 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year in the United States; however, those reports can include multiple children. In 2007, approximately 5.8 million children were involved in an estimated 3.2 million child abuse reports and allegations.
A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
Almost five children die every day as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4.
It is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.
90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68% are abused by family members.
Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
31% percent of women in prison in the United States were abused as children.
Over 60% of people in drug rehabilitation centers report being abused or neglected as a child.
About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.
About 80% of 21 year old that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2007 is $104 billion.
Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.
Abused teens are 3 times less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at greater risk for STDs.
Child Abuse & Criminal Behaviour
14% of all men in prison in the USA were abused as children
36% of all women in prison were abused as children
Children who experience child abuse & neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crime.
Child Abuse Consequences
- Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy
- Abused teens are 3 times less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at greater risk for STDs
- Child Abuse & Substance Abuse
- Children who have been sexually abused are 2.5 times more likely to abuse alcohol
- Children who have been sexually abused are 3.8 times more likely develop drug addictions
- Nearly two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused as children
Child Abuse: The Problem
- For too many children, child abuse is what they know every day of their lives
- Over 2.9 million cases of child abuse were reported last year in this country
- Approximately 1/3 of sexual abuse cases involve children 6 years of age or younger
- One in every four girls and one in every six boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18
- Eighty-five to 90% of sexual abuse happens with a person known to the child
But these figures do not tell the whole story. Evidence is mounting that child mistreatment is the precursor to many of the major social problems in this culture. Consider these figures:
- 95% of child abusers were themselves abused as children
- 80% of substance abusers were abused as children
- 80% of runaways cite child abuse as a factor
- 78% of our prison population were abused as children
- 95% of prostitutes were sexually abused as children
Not every child who is abused is has problems of this magnitude, but we know child abuse robs far too many children of their ability to freely reach their full potential. Their loss is society’s loss and “band-aid” measures are inadequate to address this epidemic. Community resistance to prevention programs has fallen away as awareness has increased and as programs have become more appropriate to the developmental needs and abilities of children.
- 90% of the public believe that all elementary schools should offer prevention of child abuse programming.
- 92% of all teachers believe such instruction is effective.
- 60% of all elementary school districts mandate prevention instruction.