UA-174898256-1 Crimes Against Children Research Center

Physical Abuse


Physical Abuse

Typically thought of as a child welfare problem, the physical abuse of children is also a crime and therefore a law enforcement problem. Unfortunately, the law enforcement perspective on child abuse has been neglected. Most statistics on child abuse come from the child welfare agencies and solely reflect activity within their sphere. The percentage of cases reported to the police by child welfare agencies is not even recorded.

Recently, however, the National Incidence-Based Reporting System has allowed researchers to access much more information about crime and its victims. This system has begun to allow an analysis of the incidents coming to the police of assaults against children by parents or caretakers - what is typically thought of as child abuse. Among the findings from an analysis of data from 12 states from 1997 are the following:

Source: Dick Ormrod & David Finkelhor (2001). Child Abuse Reported to Police. Juvenile Justice Bulletin – NCJ187238 (pgs. 1-8).