Child Abuse: Biological Parents Most Likely to Harm Victim

First Posted: Sep 13, 2013 11:56 AM EDT

A new study from the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine shows that despite federal efforts to curb both physical and sexual abuse, the problem regarding child neglect still remains 75 percent of the reported cases.

Lead study author Anne Peterson, the chairwoman of the committee, describes the problem of child abuse as a destructive social dilemma. Its impact and the long-term consequences regarding the victim, their families and society is a social issue, with statistics from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) showing that more than three million referrals for child abuse and neglect are received by the child protective services each year.  

Other sources also report that as of 2011, child protective services received 676,569 children who were victims of physical, sexual, psychological abuses and medical or other types of neglect.

Statistics show that one-fourth of victims or 1,545 died due to abuse or neglect and most of them were younger than four years old. This report shows that approximately 17.2 of 1,000 children suffer from child neglect with about 80 percent when about 80 percent of the abusers are the children's parents. A startling statistics also shows that around 88 percent of the abusers are biological parents, the majority of which are the child's mother.

NCANDS reports that child sexual abuse decreased to 62 percent since 1992 with the greatest decrease appearing in the late 90s. This downward trend continued with a three percent decrease between 2009 and 2010.

As for why a parent would abuse their own child, study author Petersen refers to personal history of abuse or neglect, addiction or depression as possible risks. Other factors to consider also include stress or poverty.

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