Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

April 2006Vol. 7, No. 3HHS Releases National Statistics on Child Abuse and Neglect for 2004

According to a report released on April 4 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 872,000 children were found to be victims of child abuse or neglect in 2004. From 2001 to 2004, the rate of victimization decreased, from 12.5 per 1,000 children in 2001 to 11.9 per 1,000 children in 2004. That represents a significant decrease from 1993, when the rate of abused and neglected children peaked at 15.3 per 1,000 children.

Of the children who were abused and neglected in 2004:

  • 62.4 percent experienced neglect
  • 17.5 percent were physically abused
  • 9.7 percent suffered sexual abuse
  • 7.0 percent were emotionally or psychologically abused
  • 2.1 percent suffered medical neglect

An estimated 1,490 children died from abuse or neglect in 2004, more than 80 percent of whom were younger than 4 years old.

While the rate of victimization has decreased, the rate of children whose cases were investigated has increased. In 2001, the rate of investigation was 43.2 children per 1,000; this increased to 47.8 children per 1,000 in 2004. After investigation, about 30 percent of the cases were substantiated for at least one child in 2004.

Approximately 60 percent of victims and 27 percent of nonvictims (children whose cases were not substantiated) received services in 2004, including in-home services and foster care. Nineteen percent of victims were placed in foster care.

The release of the full report, Child Maltreatment 2004, is timed to coincide with the start of Child Abuse Prevention Month. The statistics found in the report are based on information collected through the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. Child Maltreatment 2004 is available on the Children’s Bureau website: