Adults Aren't Taking Their Economic Woes Out on Kids, Report Shows

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Babies, Research Reveals: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Research Reveals: Big Kids, Research Reveals: Tweens, Research Reveals: Teens

child abuse rates down

Despite the bad economy, child abuse rates are down. Credit: Getty Images


Grownups apparently are not taking their anger and frustration over the blankety-blank economy out on children.


At least not in statistically significant numbers.

ScienceDaily.com reports child abuse stats are actually falling in this economy.

A new report by the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire indicates sexual abuse declined 6 percent, physical abuse 3 percent and neglect 2 percent between 2007 and 2008.

The number of children going to facilities for maltreatment stayed steady during those years, which is significant, ScienceDaily.com reports, because 2008 marked the first full year of the recession.

Such stats going down in tough economic times flies in the face of conventional wisdom that links adult stress to child abuse.

"This is good news, but we need to be very cautious," lead author David Finkelhor, director of the center and professor of sociology, tells ScienceDaily.com. "It could be that discouragement and despair in families about their deteriorating economic situation take longer than a year to show their effects."

The report notes that abuse numbers have been going down for the past 15 years.

But the news isn't all rosy -- particularly for children in states including New Hampshire. Physical abuse there was up 6 percent in 2008 over 2007, and neglect was up 35 percent. Still, over the long term, most states -- New Hampshire included -- reflect the national decline in physical and sexual abuse.

"The long-improvement for sexual and physical abuse may be related to a generation-long effort to educate and respond more effectively and aggressively to the problem," Finkelhor tells the website. "If successful prevention efforts are behind the declines, then the improvements may persist even in the face of social stressors like the recession."

The report was based on numbers submitted to the federal government by state child protection agencies.

Related: Child Abuse by the Numbers

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