In 1998, one-quarter (25.3 percent) of child abuse victims suffered more than one type of maltreatment. These included:

  • Neglect – 53.5%
  • Physical Abuse – 22.7%
  • Sexual Abuse – 11.5%
  • Emotional Abuse – Approximately 6%
  • Medical Neglect – Approximately 6%

[Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services]


  • Convicted rape and sexual assault offenders serving time in State prisons report that two-thirds of their victims were under the age of 18. [Source: U.S. Department of Justice]
  • One of every seven victims of sexual assault reported to law enforcement agencies was under age six. [Source: National Incident-Based Reporting System]
  • Among rape victims less than 12 years of age, 90% of the children knew the offender, according to police-recorded incident data. [Source: U.S. Department of Justice]
  • Frequently, the person who sexually molests a child is also a child. [Source: National Incident-Based Reporting System]


“…The most important factors that contribute to criminal behavior lie in parent-child relationships…” [Source: John McCord, The Delinquent Way of Life, 1992]

According to a report released by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, “the earliest years of a child’s life are society’s most neglected age group, yet new evidence confirms that these years lay the foundation for all that follows.” In 1998, there were more than 2.8 million cases of suspected child abuse reports by CPS agencies and more than 3 children a day died from abuse and neglect. The majority of child fatalities due to maltreatment occur to children under the age of two and 86% of child abuse occurs to children under the age of five.

A number of studies reveal that being abused and neglected as a child later impacts criminal behavior…

  • In a forty-year follow up of abused and neglected children, half had been convicted of serious crimes, became alcoholic or mentally ill or died at an early age.
  • A compilation of sixty studies disclosed that one-third of child victims of child abuse grow up to continue a pattern of serious inept, neglectful, or abusive parenting; one-third do not; and one-third remain vulnerable to the effects of social stress on the likelihood of their becoming abusive parents.
  • A recent study by the National Institute of Justice indicated that childhood abuse increased the odds of future delinquency and adult criminality by over 40%. Both black and white abused and neglected children were more likely to be arrested than comparison children. Also, youths abused and neglected were more likely to be arrested one year earlier, to commit twice as many offenses, and to be arrested more frequently than youths not abused or neglected.
  • According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the annual cost of caring for juvenile offenders in public or private residential facilities is $2.8 billion. One study found that 68% of youths arrested had a prior history of abuse and neglect based on substantial reports.

“High rates of violent juvenile crimes, school failure and adolescent child bearing add up to an enormous public burden, as well as widespread private pain. Our common mistake in preventing these damaging outcomes of adolescence is immense. We all pay to support the unproductive and incarcerate the violent. We are all economically weakened by lost productivity. We all live with fear of crime in our homes and on the streets. We are all diminished when large numbers of parents are incapable of nurturing their dependent young, when pervasive alienation erodes the national sense of community.” [Source: Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas]