A recent report which enumerated the risks associated with kids whose parents are cohabiting rather than married showed that one of the significant risks for children in those living arrangement was an increased chance of suffering abuse or neglect. In reviewing the statistics set forth in that report, it became evident that the risk of abuse and neglect is a very real risk for children in cohabiting households, children from single parent families and children of divorce. In this article, we will define child abuse and neglect, examine some of the statistics regarding the level of abuse and neglect for children in different living situations, list potential warning signs of abuse and neglect and discuss what to do in the event that you suspect a child is being abused.
Introduction to the Magnitude of Child Abuse and Neglect
We will get to much more detailed statistics on the prevalence of abuse and types of living arrangement which are more prone to abuse and neglect later in this article. However, I think it is important to have some grasp of the magnitude of the problem and why it should be important to anyone who works with kids on a regular basis. According to the January 2010 report entitled “Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (referred to herein as NIS-4), over 1.2 million children suffer harm from child abuse or neglect per year. That equates to 17.1 children per 1,000 or approximately 1 in every 58 children. When children who are endangered by abuse or neglect are added to those figures, the numbers rise to over 2.9 million kids or 39.5 per thousand. That equates to one in every 25 children. The reach and magnitude of abuse and neglect are as varied as the forms of abuse and the types of children who experience it.
In the article “When The Bough Breaks,” Martin Johnson wrote: