Child abuse statistics hard to understand

Published 9:31 pm Saturday, March 26, 2016

A pinwheel garden will be “planted” at City Hall early next month to raise awareness of child abuse. It’s a number that’s heartbreaking to think about, but 400 pinwheels will be planted, one for each child involved in a regional abuse investigation.

As sad as that is, it’s not a statistic that is unique to the area. Just how bad is the issue of child abuse in the United States?

Here are some stats from

Email newsletter signup

* Every year more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children (a referral can include multiple children).

* The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect.

* A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.

* Yearly, referrals to state child protective services involve 6.6 million children, and around 3.2 million of those children are subject to an investigated report.

* In 2014, state agencies found an estimated 702,000 victims of child maltreatment. This would pack 10 modern football stadiums.

* In 2014, state agencies identified an estimated 1,580 children who died as a result of abuse and neglect — between four and five children a day.

* More than 70 percent of the children who died as a result of child abuse or neglect were two years of age or younger. More than 80 percent were not yet old enough for *indergarten.

* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention links adverse childhood experiences (which include other household dysfunctions along with abuse and neglect) with a range of long-term health impacts.

* Abused children are at an increased risk for domestic violence, alcoholism, drug use, smoking, depression, suicide, sexually transmitted disease, unintended pregnancies,

4 In one study, 80 percent of 21-year-olds who reported childhood abuse met the criteria for at least one psychological disorder.

The statistics are not easy to read, but education is the start of prevention. Please consider joining the Central Alabama Regional Child Advocacy Center during their program April 12 at 4:30 p.m.