Child Abuse Rates Continue To Fall Despite Economy, Study Suggests
Child abuse rates are continuing to decline despite fears that the poor economy would drive up cases, a federal study suggests.
The annual report from the Department of Health and Human Services, expected to be formally disclosed Wednesday, shows that overall abuse and neglect figures have declined slightly between 2008 and 2010, with child fatalities dropping by 8.5 percent during the same time span, the Associated Press reports. The report noted a specific drop from 716,000 victims in 2008 to 695,000 in 2010.
In 2006, the number of victimized children was at 825,000, the Associated Press reports.
"The recession hasn't had the draconian effect that some feared," said dean and child welfare expert Richard Gelles of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy and Practice, as reported by the Associated Press. "The doom and gloom predictions haven't come true."
The report, formally known as the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, is based on input from child protection agencies across the U.S., according to the Associated Press.
"We are heartened to see maltreatment on the decline, but even one child being a victim of abuse and neglect is too many," George Sheldon, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families, told the Associated Press. "The report reminds us of the continuing need for investment in prevention efforts and the importance of coordination between federal, state and local agencies."