The U.S. Department of Justice on Child Abuse and Neglect

In their longitudinal studies, the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Institute of Justice found some daunting statistics on child abuse and neglect. Their “findings strongly indicate the relationship between abuse and neglect and delinquency and adult criminality and violent behavior.” Although no single factor is likely to account for development of criminal behavior, the importance of childhood victimization as a risk factor for delinquency, adult criminality and violence has become increasingly recognized.

• Figures for 2003 indicate that nationally about 96,000 children (under 18 years of age) were sexually abused.

• Abused, neglected children are 4.8 times as likely to be arrested as a juvenile.

• Twice as likely to be arrested as an adult.

• 3.1 times as likely to be arrested for a violent crime.

• 17.5 % of dependent children have been sexually abused (male and female; all ethnicities).

• ¾ of perpetrators are friends or neighbors.

• Age at highest risk for sexual abuse in males – 4 years of age; females – 14 years of age.

Abuse, Defined.

Abuse, according to Websters: A corrupt practice. Misuse (drugs), coarse, insulting speech. Mistreatment.

Abuse: Any act or absence of action either physical or emotional, that violates the well-being or dignity of the individual.

Derogatory: Expression of a low opinion or disparaging remark.

Disrespectful: Lacking regard or concern or to treat as unworthy or lacking value as a human being.