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National Child Abuse Prevention Month: New York State Child Protective Services

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Children laughing in a classroom

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) gives the following statistics:

In 2007, U.S. state and local child protective services (CPS) investigated 3.2 million reports of children being abused or neglected. CPS classified 794,000 of these children as victims. Approximately three quarters of them had no history of prior victimization. Fifty-nine percent of the children were classified as victims of child neglect; 4 percent as victims of emotional abuse; 8 percent as victims of sexual abuse; and 11 percent as victims of physical abuse. In 2007, 1,760 children ages 0 to 17 died from abuse and neglect, and 76 percent or more of these deaths occurred among children younger than age 4.

The majority of the perpetrators are, surprisingly to some, female. More women (56%) than men (42%) are perpetrators of all forms of child maltreatment, and female abusers are primarily mothers and typically are younger than male perpetrators ( U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007).
Four categories of child maltreatment that occur among children under the age of 18 (CDC, 2007):

1. Physical abuse occurs when a child’s body is injured as a result of hitting, kicking, shaking, burning or other show of force.

2. Sexual abuse involves engaging a child in sexual acts. It includes fondling, rape, and exposing a child to other sexual activities

3. Emotional abuse refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being. Examples include name calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening.

4. Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic needs. These needs include housing, food, clothing, education, and access to medical care.

What are signs that a child may be getting abused?

A child will often exhibit significant behavior change, such as a change in personality or a change in academic performance. A child might have learning difficulties or problems with concentrating that are not accounted for by physical or psychological causes (i.e., Learning Disabilities). A child might not want to go home after school or become anxious and tearful when its time to go home. A child might be hypervigilant, always watching or preparing for something bad to happen, and/or be overly compliant, passive, depressed or withdrawn. The child might be left at home without proper adult supervision (Child Welfare Information Gateway).

Do you suspect abuse or maltreatment? Report it Now! The abuse or maltreatment of children is against the law.

Statewide Toll Free Telephone Number: 1-800-342-3720

The Hotline receives calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week from two sources: persons who are required by law, or mandated, to report suspected cases of child abuse and maltreatment; and calls from non-mandated reporters, including the public.

If you believe that a child is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police department.

Among those who are mandated to make reports are not limited to but include:

  • medical and hospital personnel
  • school officials
  • mental health professionals
  • social service workers
  • child care workers
  • residential care workers and volunteers
  • law enforcement personnel

If you can’t make the call for whatever reason, find a mandated report and tell him or her what is going on so that they can make the call.

Children deserve to be protected and advocated for.

For more information:


  • Joyce Geyer 5 years ago

    Hi Dr. Peters: I had no idea that so many children were abused. This is a very informative article, thank you. I am new to Examiner, and you may find me at Buffalo Breast Cancer Examiner.
    Respectfully, Joyce

  • Joyce Geyer 5 years ago

    I also subscribed, Thanks.

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