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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

  • Approximately 6.6 million children came to the attention of child protective services agencies in 2014. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
  • Neglect and physical abuse are the most common forms of abuse and maltreatment as reported to child protective services agencies. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
    • 75% of the children reported to CPS are neglect cases. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
    • 17% are physical abuse cases. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
  • Young children are the most vulnerable to child abuse. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
    • 47% of victims of child abuse were 5 years old or younger. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)

Fatalities from Child Abuse

  • 1,580 children died of child abuse and neglect in the United States in 2014. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
    • This is a rate of 2.13 deaths per 1,000 children. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
    • Over 70% of these fatalities occurred among children who were younger than 3 years old. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
  • Boys have a higher fatality rate than girls. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
    • Maltreatment-related fatalities occurred at a rate of 2.48 per 100,000 boys. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
    • Maltreatment-related fatalities occurred at a rate of 1.82 fatalities per 100,000 girls. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
  • 43% of child fatalities occurred among White children. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
  • 30% occurred among African-American children. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
  • 15% occurred among Hispanic children. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)
  • Nearly 80% of child fatalities in the United States involved at least one parent as the perpetrator. (Children’s Bureau, 2014)

Child Abuse in New York City

  • There were 61,466 reports of abuse and neglect in New York City during 2015. (NYC Administration for Children’s Services Flash Report, July 2016)
  • Neglect was the most common type of allegation (60%), followed by physical abuse (12%) and educational neglect (7%).
  • Schools and social service providers are the leading reporters of suspected abuse and neglect.

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

6,462 children received critical services from the expert teams at our Child Advocacy Centers in 2016.