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Child Abuse

Child Abuse Statistics and Facts

Definition: Child abuse, or child maltreatment occurs when a parent or caregiver causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child.


There are many forms of child maltreatment, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, exploitation, or any other act that could put a child at risk.

Risk can include behaviors that place a child in imminent danger of harm when a caregiver fails to exercise the minimum degree of care in providing any of the following when financially able to do so: food, clothing, shelter, education or medical care.

A person is abusive to a child if they commit any of these actions against a child in their care and/or they allow someone else to do these things to a child.

Physical abuse of a child is when a parent or caregiver causes any non-accidental physical injury to a child.

Sexual abuse occurs when an adult uses a child for sexual purposes or involves a child in sexual acts.

Emotional abuse occurs when a parent or caregiver harms a child’s mental and social development, or causes severe emotional harm. While a single incident may be abuse, most often emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that causes harm over time.

Child neglect occurs when a parent or caregiver does not give the care, supervision, affection and support needed for a child’s health, safety and well-being.

Child neglect includes:

  • Physical neglect and inadequate supervision
  • Emotional neglect
  • Medical neglect
  • Educational neglect

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of a Child (CSEC) is the sexual exploitation of a juvenile under 18 years old for financial or economic gain.

Statistics and Facts

National Child Abuse Statistics

  • More than 7 million U.S. children come to the attention of Child Protective Services (CPS) each year.
    • Each year approximately 3.4 million children receive services from child protective agencies. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
  • Neglect and physical abuse are the most common forms of abuse and maltreatment reported to child protective services agencies. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
    • 75% of the child victims who came to the attention of CPS are victims of neglect. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
    • 17% are victims of physical abuse. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
    • 8% are victims of sexual abuse. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
  • Young children are the most vulnerable to maltreatment. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
    •  28% of victims of child abuse are under the age of 3. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)

Fatalities from Child Abuse

  • 1,670 children die due to abuse or neglect each year. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
    • 75% of children who die due to child abuse or neglect are younger than 3 years old. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
  • Boys have a higher child fatality rate than girls. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
    • Maltreatment-related fatalities occur at a rate of 2.42 per 100,000 boys. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
    • Maltreatment-related fatalities occur at a rate of 2.09 fatalities per 100,000 girls. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
  • 42% of child fatalities occur among White children. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
  • 31% occur among African-American children. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
  • 15% occur among Hispanic children. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)
  • 78% of child fatalities in the United States involve at least one parent as the perpetrator. (Children’s Bureau, 2015)

Child Abuse in New York City

  • There are more than 50,000 reports of abuse and neglect in New York City each year. (NYC Administration for Children’s Services, 2016)
    • Neglect is the most common type of allegation (59%). (NYC Administration for Children’s Services, Flash Report May 2017)
    • Followed by physical abuse (12%). (NYC Administration for Children’s Services, Flash Report May 2017)
    • And educational neglect (9%). (NYC Administration for Children’s Services, Flash Report May 2017)

Lieutenant Donovan helping child victims

As part of the Bronx Child Advocacy Center’s multidisciplinary team of experts who investigate, respond to, and prosecute cases of child abuse, Lieutenant Michael Donovan explains the seamless way the team helps child victims of abuse get the protection and justice they deserve.
Read Lieutenant Donovan's story →

Our Programs

Child Advocacy Center

Helping the youngest victims of abuse heal and thrive.

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Counseling Center

Help to overcome the impact of abuse.

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Our Impact

7,859 children received critical services from the expert teams at our Child Advocacy Centers in 2019.

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