National Child Abuse Statistics

Child Abuse Defined:

Any act that endangers a child’s physical or emotional health and development, often taking place in the home, with the child knowing the abuser well. The four types of child maltreatment are neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse.

Abuse is a willful act and 100% preventable

  • 50% of American children will witness the breakup of a parent’s marriage.[1]

  • An average of 3 million child abuse cases are reported each year, with the actual number closer to 9 million, as most cases go unreported.[2]

  • Child abuse costs the U.S. $250 million a day, averaging $124 billion each year. [3]

  • An estimated 1,560 children die each year from abuse and neglect, yet that number is also believed to be highly underreported. Experts believe an estimated 10 children die every day as a result of child abuse [4],[5]

  • It is estimated that between 50%-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates[6]

  • Children living in househoulds with unrelated adults are nearly 50 times more likely to die of inflicted injuries as children living with two biological parents, according to a study published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Unfortunately, the horrible cycle of abuse continues, as it is estimated that 30% of abused and neglected children will go on to later abuse their own children[7]


 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2011). Child Maltreatment 2010. Available from Retrieved from: Referenced from:

[1] (Furstenberg, Peterson, Nord, and Zill, Life Course) Retrieved from:
[4] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011. Retrieved from
[5] United States Government Accountability Office, 2011. Child maltreatment: strengthening national data on child fatalities could aid in prevention (GAO-11-599). Retrieved from
[6] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children’s Bureau.Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities 2009: Statistics and Interventions. Retrieved from
[7] Long - Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect. Child Welfare Information Gateway.Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006. Retrieved from