Need some good news today? We’ve got it in a big way: a federal study has determined there’s been a “sharp drop” in child abuse cases in the U.S. in the past decade.
Introduced in the fourth report of the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, the statistics provided to Congress by the Department of Health and Human Services show a twenty-six percent decrease in the number of kids who suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse in 2005-06 compared to those who were traumatized in 1993.
Sex abuse on kids alone dipped thirty-eight percent in that period, while physical abuse was down fifteen percent, emotional abuse down by twenty-seven percent.
But don’t break out the bubbly yet – the study still showed kids nearly half a million American kids suffered abuse in the year studied, and black children were being hurt at a substantially higher rate than their white and Hispanic peers. Kids who live with a single parent and that parent’s non-married partner are also at a much higher risk of being abused than kids in households where the parents are married (or single parent households without a live in for that matter).
And though the study was released this week, it doesn’t look at abuse rates since the economy tanked, making it difficult to assess whether this is a sign of the nation’s current mindset. Experts have long posited a link between economic hardship and child abuse – with parents suffering from the psychological impacts of job loss and financial stress.
Still, the increased efforts to protect kids should be lauded. And if there’s one lesson in this – it’s no matter how bad the economy gets, it’s one arm of government that needs to keep its funding.
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