The Psychology of Trauma

Child Abuse

What percentage of children in the United States are abused in some way?

The table below shows the breakdown by age and sex of the total number of victimized children in the United States. As the table shows, most of the mistreatment cases occur with children under the age of four (60.2 percent of boys and 58.1 percent of girls). Most of these cases involve neglect. After age four the incidence of mistreatment goes down, only to rise again in adolescence for girls, but not boys. The increase in the mistreatment of teenage girls is probably due to an increase in sexual assaults starting at that time. These statistics come from the 2007 report on Child Mistreatment by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Age % Boys % Girls
< 1=""> 22.2 21.5
1 yr. 13.2 12.7
2 yrs. 12.8 12.2
3 yrs. 12.0 11.7
4—7 yrs 11.4 11.6
8—11 yrs. 9.2 9.6
12—15 yrs. 6.9 10.5
16—17 yrs. 3.9 7.0

Percent of Child Abuse Victims (by Age and Sex) in 2007

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