National Decline in Child Abuse and Neglect?

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Dr. Richard Gelles
Dean, School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania

• Internationally known researcher in child-welfare policy, child abuse and neglect and family violence
• Author of “Controversies on Domestic Violence,“ “The Violent Home” and “Intimate Violence and Abuse in Families”

“While the decline is real and substantial as of 2006, it is not a reason to decrease funding for programs that aim at child abuse prevention and intervention. The Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect Report measured suspected child abuse in 2006 compared to 1996. Both years were times of unusual economic prosperity and, thus, it is not surprising there would be a drop from 1996 to 2006. Data examining rates of child abuse reporting and victimization that track child maltreatment on a yearly basis found an increase in reports and victimization after the economic downturn in 2001.”