Background and Statistics

The US Department of Health and Human Services produces an annual report on child maltreatment.8 The Child Maltreatment report series is an important resource relied upon by thousands of researchers, practitioners, and advocates throughout the world, per the Internet. The latest report, Child Maltreatment 2015,9 outlines risk factors associated with the maltreatment of children. The principle risk factors fell into one of three categories:

  • Alcohol abuse, where 10% of abuse victims were reported to have been related to caregiver alcohol abuse.
  • Drug abuse, where 25% of the abuse victims were reported to have been related to caregiver drug abuse.
  • Domestic violence, where 25% of the abuse victims were reported to have been related to caregiver domestic violence.

The American Society for the Positive Care of Children,10 in a January, 2017 release, offers these statistics regarding child abuse within the USA for the calendar year 2015:

  • Four million child maltreatment reports received.
  • 7.2 million child abuse reports received.
  • 75% of the child victims were neglected.
  • 17% of the child victims were physically abused.
  • 8% of the child victims were sexually abused.
  • 7% of the child victims were psychologically maltreated.
  • 49% of the child victims were under the age of one year.
  • 75% of the child victims were under the age of three years.
  • Five children die every day from abuse.
  • 80% of child fatalities involve at least one parent.

There continues to be an epidemic of human abuse in our society that does not show signs of slowing down. The dental practice environment can play an important role in starting to change that upward trend.