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Child Maltreatment 2016 Shows Increase in Number of Investigations and Child Victims

The number of child maltreatment investigations and the number of child victims increased between 2012 and 2016 according to newly released federal reporting data on child abuse and neglect.

Child Maltreatment 2016, released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children's Bureau, is the 27th report in the Child Maltreatmentseries. The report compiles state data collected through the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). The report includes information on reports made to child protective services (CPS) agencies, demographics of the children involved, types of maltreatment, CPS responses, the number of fatalities, child and caregiver risk factors, perpetrators of abuse and neglect, and available services.

Highlights of the report include:

  • The national estimate of children who received a CPS investigation increased from 3,172,000 in 2012 to 3,472,000 in 2016 (9.5 percent).
  • The rounded number of annual victims increased from 656,000 in 2012 to an estimated 676,000 in 2016 (3 percent).
  • Nearly three-quarters of the victims were neglected (74.8 percent), 18.2 percent were physically abused, and 8.5 percent were sexually abused.
  • An estimated 1,750 children died of abuse and neglect in 2016 (at a rate of 2.36 per 100,000 children in the United States).
  • Seventy percent of the child fatalities involved children younger than 3 years.

Visit Information Gateway's webpage How to Report Suspected Maltreatment to learn how to report suspected child abuse or neglect, access state-specific reporting requirements and contact information, and to find additional help. To learn the history of child maltreatment and ongoing prevention efforts, see Information Gateway's issue brief, Child Maltreatment Past, Present, and Future.