Our Nations Parents and Child

Abuse Epidemic are Linked

The statistics on physical child abuse are extremly alarming. It is reported millions of children are abused each year by a parent or close relative. Thousands actually die as a result of the abuse. For those who survive, the emotional trauma remains long after the external bruises have healed. 

The data are collected and analyzed by the Children’s Bureau in the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


The Child Maltreatment report series is an important resource relied upon by thousands of researchers, practitioners, and advocates throughout

the world.


This latest report presents national data about child abuse and neglect known to child protective services agencies in the United States during federal fiscal year 2019.       

National Child Abuse Data Report

Child Maltreatment 2019 Cover

7,880,400 children alleging abuse, increased in 2019 up from 2017   +380,400 in 2 years 

4,378,000 Child maltreatment REFERRALS reports increased in 2019 up from 2017

+278,000 in 2 years

3,476,000 children received an investigation or alternative response 

656,000 victims includes 1,840 fatalities from abuse and neglect during 2019 up from 2017

Nationally,  (70.3%) of victims are younger than 3 years old. 

Highest rate of child abuse are children in their first year of life per 25.7 per 1,000 children in the population of the same age

45.4 percent of children who die from child abuse are under one year in 2019 down from from 2017 by -4.2% 

(70.3%) percent of all child fatalities were younger than 3 years old. 1

44.4% of the child abuse victims die from physical abuse. 

72.9% of the child abuse victims die from neglect. 

74.9% of victims are neglected. Neglect is the most prevalent form of  child abuse.   

Child Neglect

18.3 percent of children are physically abused 1


8.6 percent of children are sexually abused 1

7.1% of victims are psychologically maltreated. 1


80% of child fatalities involve at least one parent.1

Child abuse crosses all socioeconomic and educational levels, religions, ethnic and cultural groups.1

The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations for child deaths by abuse and neglect 1

More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator.

Estimated between 50-60% of Maltreatment deaths  are not recorded on death certificates.

The largest categories in the nonparent group are relative(s) (5.0%)



A perpetrator is the person who is responsible for the abuse or neglect of a child. Fifty states reported.


(83.4%) of perpetrators were between the ages of 18 and 44 years. 

(69%) of victims are maltreated by a mother, either acting alone (40.8%) or with a father and/or non-parent (28.2%)  1


(53.7%) of perpetrators were women  1

46.1 percent of perpetrators were men,and 1.0 percent were of unknown sex 1

77.5 percent of victims are maltreated by one or both parents. 1


Of the children who died, 72.9 percent suffered neglect 

44.4 percent suffered physical abuse either exclusively or in combination with another   maltreatment type.

Twenty-three states report that 5.8 percent of child fatalities had a caregiver with a risk factor of alcohol abuse.

29 states report that 19.4 percent of child fatalities had a caregiver with a risk factor of  drug abuse.

For 27 states, 10.4 percent of child fatalities had a caregiver with a financial problem.

In 30 states, 10.4 percent of fatalities had a caregiver who was exposed to domestic violence.

It is easy to read statistics without grasping the human suffering behind the numbers. Each number represents a child’s life. Each human life touches hundreds of others. The consequences of child abuse and neglect rapidly became an epidemic. Efforts to intervene have made little difference. In fact, data reveals the number of abused children over the past ten years has often risen.    

  1. Child Maltreatment 2019. Published: 2021. An office of the Administration for Children & Families, a division of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. This report presents national data about child abuse and neglect known to child protective services agencies in the United States during federal fiscal year 2018. Retrieved from: Child Maltreatment 2019 (hhs.gov)

  2. Snyder, Howard, N. (2000, July). Sexual assault of young children as reported to law enforcement: victim, incident, and offender characteristics. Retrieved from:  https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/saycrle.pdf

  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health, Behavioral Consequences of Child Abuse. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743691/

  4. Swan, N. (1998). Exploring the role of child abuse on later drug abuse: Researchers face broad gaps in information. NIDA Notes, 13(2). Retrieved from the National Institute on Drug Abuse website: www.nida.nih.gov/NIDA_Notes/NNVol13N2/exploring.htm