Child maltreatment trends in the 1990s: why does neglect differ from sexual and physical abuse?

Academic Article


  • Substantiated cases of child maltreatment have declined more than 20% since a peak in 1993. However, although sexual abuse and physical abuse showed significant declines during the 1990s (47% and 36%, respectively), neglect fluctuated, with only a small overall decline during this period (7%). Available data suggest that at least part of the declines in sexual and physical abuse is likely to be real. Some evidence also suggests that a decline in neglect may have been masked in some states. Possible sources for declines in child maltreatment include direct prevention efforts, economic improvements, more aggressive criminal justice efforts, dissemination of psychiatric medication, and generational changes. Public health models suggest that population-level prevention initiatives are the most promising options for further reducing maltreatment rates. However, better epidemiological and evaluation research will be needed to identify the key factors.
  • Authors

  • Jones, Lisa M
  • Finkelhor, David
  • Halter, Stephanie
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • May 2006
  • Published In

  • Child Maltreatment  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Child
  • Child Abuse
  • Child Abuse, Sexual
  • Demography
  • Humans
  • Punishment
  • United States
  • United States Dept. of Health and Human Services
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 16595845
  • Start Page

  • 107
  • End Page

  • 120
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 2