Important Facts, Figures and Examples of Child Abuse Cases

Child abuse is more common than many think

Adult's hand on see-saw, girl (3-5) sitting on seat (focus on hand)
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People often think that child abuse cases are something that happen in other families and other neighborhoods, but not close to them.

Unfortunately, child abuse statistics show that just over 1,500 children die each year in the United States from child abuse and neglect. In addition, 70 percent of child abuse victims are under the age of 3 years old, and 80 percent of the abused children were harmed by a parent.

Neglect is the most common form of child abuse, followed by physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and, lastly, medical neglect.

Most importantly, everyone should be aware that victims of child abuse come from all socioeconomic backgrounds, living situations and races.

Child Abuse Cases and Stories

These child abuse cases and stories straight from the headlines of recent newspapers can help to highlight how common child abuse is so that everyone may be more likely to report suspected child abuse and neglect:

  • Neglect - A mother in Dallas, Texas, was charged with neglect after her 9 year old died from complications of diabetes after she failed to help her manage her disease.
  • Physical/Emotional Abuse - A mother in North Central Texas had her three children taken away because of a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
  • Physical Abuse - Two parents in Dallas, Texas, were charged with abusing their 6 month old infant so severely that he was in intensive care and it was thought that he was not going to be able to recover.
  • Physical Abuse - A mother's boyfriend was charged with the death of her six-year-old son.
  • Physical Abuse - A father was charged with the death of his three-month-old infant who was found unresponsive, with bone fractures and liver lacerations.
  • Physical Abuse - A father in Lodi, California, was charged with physical abuse after a school employee noticed and reported burns on a 6 year old student, which were thought to have been inflicted by a clothes iron. She had also been beaten with a stick, and her mother was charged with child endangerment.
  • Physical Abuse - A mother and her live-in boyfriend in Janesville, Wisconsin, were charged with abuse after repeatedly hitting her 3 year old daughter to the point that she required emergency brain surgery.
  • Physical Abuse - The boyfriend of a child's mother in Wilmington, Delaware, hit and killed a 16-month old girl because she wouldn't stop crying.
  • Physical Abuse - A 9 year-old was beaten by his mother's boyfriend in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
  • Physical Abuse - In Fall River, Massachusetts, a mother was charged with burning her four-year-old foster son with a curling iron, causing third-degree burns that required skin graft surgery.

Wrapping Up

Unfortunately, many more cases of child abuse go unreported. If you think a child is being abused or neglected, report it. Many people are reluctant to pry or to question other people's parenting "styles," but if their behavior appears abusive or suspicious, trust your gut and contact the authorities.

Most states have a child abuse reporting number or hotline that you can use so that child welfare specialists can investigate suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.


National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. Child Maltreatment 2011.

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