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National Statistics On Child Abuse
Champions for Child Safety

Child Maltreatment 2017 is the 28th edition of the annual Child Maltreatment report series and the most updated data about child abuse.


The national rounded number of children who received a child protective services investigation response or alternative response increased 10.0 percent from 2013 (3,184,000) to 2017 (3,501,000).

The number and rate of victims have fluctuated during the past 5 years. Comparing the national rounded number of victims from 2013 (656,000) to the national rounded number of victims in 2017 (674,000) shows an increase of 2.7 percent.

The 2017 data show three-quarters (74.9%) of victims are neglected, 18.3 percent are physically abused, and 8.6 percent are sexually abused. These victims may suffer a single maltreatment type or a combination of two or more maltreatment types.

For 2017, an estimated 1,720 children died of abuse and neglect at a rate of 2.32 per 100,000 children in the national population.

1,770 children in the United States died from physical abuse or other forms of maltreatment in fiscal year 2009.1 Some experts believe that more children have died from maltreatment than are captured in these estimates. 

experts and  Government Accountability Office (GAO) expressed concern that national data on these deaths may be problematic because of inconsistencies and limitations in the data collected and reported. For example Arkansas.



Child Torture

Child torture can include a combination of two or more of the cruel and inhuman treatments, such as:


Gaps in criminal codes can leave judges without the authority to impose appropriate sentences in these cases that respect the severity of the offense, the safety of the victim, and the offenders’ rehabilitative needs.

Although children die of child torture, some survive with severe mental injury and no serious bodily injury.  14 states require causing serious bodily injury and do not criminalize serious mental injury that results from child torture.

36 states and DC  have statutes criminalizing causing severe mental injury for child torture, with penalties varying from up to two years in jail to life in prison. However, some of these states also have large loopholes.   

•          intentionally starving the child,

•          binding or restraining the child,

•          repeatedly physically  or sexually abusing the child, 

•          exposing the child to extreme temperatures without adequate clothing,

•          locking the child in closets or other small spaces,

•          forcing the child to eat excrement,

•          forcing the child to have sexual contact with animals, or

•          forcing the child into stress positions or other regimens intended to break the child's will for protracted periods of time, resulting in prolonged suffering permanent disfigurement/dysfunction, or death

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Established in April of 2017, NCCASP protects vulnerable children by connecting state and local multidisciplinary professionals who work on child maltreatment cases to innovative laws, technology, research, resources, and training which lead to better outcomes.

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