Child Abuse (cont.)

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What age child is abused?

All ages of children suffer from child abuse and neglect. Research has shown, however, that risk factors exist making it more likely that certain children may be abused. These risk factors include the following:

  1. Age: About 67% of abused children are less than 1 year old; 80% are less than 3 years old.
  2. Past history of abuse: Repeated abuse has been shown to occur more than 50% of the time; repeatedly abused children have a 10% chance of sustaining a lethal event.
  3. Children with learning disabilities, speech/language disorders and mental retardation
  4. Children with congenital anomalies (malformations) and chronic/recurrent conditions
  5. Adopted and foster children

Complicating the collection of data is the general underreporting of child abuse. Very young children are incapable of verbally communicating the harm inflicted on them. Other factors such as fear, guilt, or confusion about the abuser's erratic behavior may also hinder younger children from informing on their abuser.

Data from 2006-2011 indicate the following socioeconomic breakdown regarding child abuse: African-American (22%), Hispanic (16%), Caucasian (46%), mixed race/others (16%).

Are girls more often abused than boys?

Yes. Girls are somewhat more likely to be abused. According to statistics published in 2011, about 52% of victims of maltreatment were female and 48% were male. Data obtained in the federally funded 2011 study demonstrate no significant change in these values.

Is the pattern of abuse different for girls and boys?

Studies have shown a consistent pattern regarding the abuse and neglect inflicted on children of different genders. Approximately 75% of sexual abuse is inflicted upon girls. Girls also are more likely to suffer from emotional abuse and neglect. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to experience physical trauma (other than sexual abuse). When focusing solely on cause of death, studies indicate fathers are more likely to kill their child via physical abuse, while mothers kill by neglect (for example, starvation).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2013

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