Welcome to part 4 of our 10 part series on child abuse and neglect. Today, we will be exploring the increased risks of child abuse and neglect for children of divorce, cohabiting households and single parent families.
One of the portions of the NIS-4 report that struck us was the increased risk of abuse and neglect for children of divorce, children living in cohabiting relationships and children living in single parent families. Throughout this discussion of different charts and statistics below, you will note that one thing is absolutely consistent; the least risk of child maltreatment is for those children living with married biological parents. Let’s have a look.
This first chart looks at all instances of harm standard maltreatment as well as specific rates of abuse and neglect by family structure. By far, the largest risk of maltreatment to kids is when they are in a living situation with one parent and that parent’s cohabiting partner with 57.2 children per thousand in this living arrangement suffering maltreatment. That is 8.4 times higher than the rate for children living with married biological parents (6.8 per thousand). Cohabiting married parents and other married parents, such as step families, have the next lowest rates at 23.5 and 24.4 per thousand respectively. Children in single parent families are maltreated at a rate of 28.4 per thousand.
The rates for abuse follow a similar pattern with the exception of the fact that kids living in other married parents and cohabiting biological parent homes are more likely to be abused than those living in single parent families. Neglect follows the same pattern as all maltreatment except for the fact that kids in a home with cohabiting biological parents are slightly more likely to be neglected than those from homes classified as “other married parents.”