Child Maltreatment

Child Maltreatment

Child Maltreatment

Definition: Child maltreatment includes the physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect of a child or adolescent by an adult.

Magnitude of the Problem: Child Protective Services (CPS) estimated that there were 695,000 victims of child maltreatment in the U.S. during the 2010 fiscal year. According to a CDC study, child maltreatment costs the country close to $124 billion each year. It is associated with a number of short- and long-term health problems and injuries, such as:

  • broken bones;
  • developmental delays;
  • depression;
  • alcohol abuse;
  • heart and liver disease;
  • cancer;
  • severe obesity; and
  • elevated risk of becoming an abuser.

Prevention: While providing services to children who have been abused or neglected is essential, the public health approach to child maltreatment relies on a primary prevention focus, examining and addressing risk factors associated with abuse and creating programs that support and promote healthy and safe relationships, such as home visiting programs for new parents.

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