The Truths About Child Abuse in Our Community

Posted on Feb 18th 2022

Back

The Truths About Child Abuse in Our Community

Oftentimes, we think abuse only affects certain people, places, or communities. But the unfortunate truth is that it has infiltrated our community and affects thousands of children every year.

In the U.S. alone, nearly 700,000 children are abused each year. 1 Fill an NFL stadium seven times and that’s the number of children that are abused in our country - every year. In Utah, more than 9,000 children were abused in 2021 2 , and that’s only counting the number of reported cases.

Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic amplified the problem of child abuse. Families were put under great stress, children were kept at home, and child abuse became more difficult to report. While it is estimated that the rate of child abuse increased during the pandemic, reported cases decreased, as common reporters, like teachers, were no longer seeing children in person and were less likely to see signs of abuse.

child abuse in our community

Here are a few things we know to be true:

  • Child abuse can occur in many forms - physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, drug endangerment, neglect, and more.
  • 90% of children know their abuser, with a majority of abusers being parents. 3
  • Most children either delay reporting or never disclose their abuse. 4
  • The youngest children are the most vulnerable to maltreatment. More than one-quarter (28.6%) of victims are in the age range of birth through 2 years old. 5
  • Child abuse is deadly. Approximately 1,700 children a year die from abuse and neglect in the U.S. 1

Now that we have looked at the statistics of child abuse in the U.S., learn about the effects of abuse. Abuse can lead to issues in both psychological and physical health:

Psychological health effects: As a result of trauma, children often experience a difficulty with attention and focus, learning disabilities, low self-esteem, impaired social skills, and sleep. Additionally, childhood trauma is linked to an increased risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders. 6

Physical health effects: In addition to its significant psychological effects, abuse has numerous physical health effects. Children who experience trauma are more likely to have heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. 6

While the reality of child abuse and its effects appear bleak, we as a community can work to prevent child abuse, identify child abuse, and support children in their healing journey after abuse. This is why The Friends exists to support the Children’s Justice Center (CJC) in providing comprehensive services to empower children so that their small voices can be heard in the criminal justice system.

While the numbers of child abuse are staggering, the reality for children within our community can change with our help. Please consider getting involved today to help change these statistics!

Sources:

  1. National Child Abuse Statistics from NCA. National Children's Alliance. (2021, September 21). https://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/media-room/national-statistics-on-child-abuse/
  2. DCFS 2021 Annual Report. https://dcfs.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/DCFS-2021-Annual-Report.pdf.
  3. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2021). Child Maltreatment 2019. Washington, DC: Author
  4. Nationalcac.org 10 facts about child abuse - calio. (n.d.). https://calio.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/10-Facts-About-Child-Abuse.pdf
  5. Child maltreatment 2020 - Acf.hhs.gov. (n.d.) https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/documents/cb/cm2020.pdf
  6. Long-term consequences of child abuse and ... - child welfare (n.d.). https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/long_term_consequences.pdf