Perpetrator of Child Maltreatment Statistics

Child
Maltreatment

Child Maltreatment 1999
(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – The Administration
on Children, Youth, and Families) is a result of data collected from each
State’s Child Protective Services (CPS) systems.  The report notes that
definitions vary from State to State. For an example, a State may or may not
count abuse by a babysitter or daycare worker as abuse or count the abuser as
the perpetrator.

This is why the sample size only included
554,047 perpetrators from 21 states and the report said that 61.8 percent of the
perpetrators were female and 38.2 percent were male. This implied that females
were 1.62 times as likely as males to maltreat children. The problem with their
numbers was that the reports divided the perpetrators into nine categories and
four categories did not identify a parent as a perpetrator.

I wanted to express child maltreatment in
terms that involved at least one parent. So I selected the following five
categories: female parent only, both parents, male parent only, female parent
and another, and male parent and another. This is why I excluded the remaining
four categories that included: other, family relative, unknown, and substitute
care worker from the non-fatal child maltreatment
figures.

The study classifies maltreatment as
neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. The percentages for each
classification of maltreatment appears in the tables below. The percentages may
not add to 100 due to rounding.

Neglect

Perpetrator

Percent 
Female
parent only
51.7
Both
parents
18.5
Male
parent only
12.4
Female
parent and another
8.2
Other 2.7
Family
relative
2.5
Unknown 2.8
Substitute
Care Provider
1.3
Male parent and
another
1.0
Physical
Abuse

Perpetrator

Percent 
Female
parent only
35.6
Male
parent only
26.6
Both
parents
14.2
Female
parent and another
7.3
Other 5.8
Family
relative
3.9
Unknown 3.6
Substitute
Care Provider
1.8
Male parent and
another
1.3
Sexual
Abuse
Perpetrator Percent
Male
parent only
20.8 Note 5
Family
relative
18.2
Other 17.7
Both
parents
12.3
Unknown 11.3
Female
parent and another
11.0
Female
parent only
3.9
Substitute
Care Provider
2.8
Male parent and
another
2.0

 

Notes on These Tables

  1. Female parent only means that the male parent was not involved in
    the abuse.

  2. Male parent only means that the female parent was not involved in
    the abuse.

  3. Female parent and another means that the female parent and
    another person were involved in the abuse.

  4. Male parent and another means that the male parent and another
    person were involved in the abuse.

  5. Some Child Protective
    Services workers regard a male parent bathing his young children (those
    who cannot bathe themselves or require supervision for their own safety)
    as sexual abuse. That standard is not applied to female parents. 
    Furthermore, the father or father-figure is presumed to be the offender
    in Child Sexual Abuse:  Intervention and Treatment
    Issues
    -1993, a publication sponsored by the U.S. Department of
    Health and Human Services. The statistic includes cases where fathers
    and father-figures were falsely accused of child molestation and sexual
    abuse. False accusations in this category are estimated in the range of
    80% to 90%.  Therefore, the 20.8% statistic is suspect.

 

Neglect
– Both parents account for 18.5% of
neglect cases. I divided this number by 2 and rounded the result up to the
nearest tenth (9.3). Mothers account for 69.2% (51.7 + 9.3 + 8.2), fathers
parents account for 22.7% (12.4 + 9.3 + 1.0), and non-parents account for 9.3%
(2.7 + 2.5 + 2.8 + 1.3) of reported neglect.

Physical Abuse – Both parents
account for 14.2% of physical abuse cases. I divided this number by 2 giving
7.1. Mothers account for 50.0% (35.6 + 7.1 + 7.3), fathers account for account
for 35.0% (26.6 + 7.1 + 1.3), and non-parents account for 15.1% (5.8 + 3.9 + 3.6
+ 1.8) of the reported physical abuse.

Sexual Abuse
– Both parents account for 12.3% of
sexual abuse cases. I divided this number by 2 and rounded the result up to the
nearest tenth (6.2). Mothers account for 21.1% (6.2 + 3.9 + 11.0), fathers
account for 29.0% (6.2 +20.8 + 2.0), and non-parents account for 50.0 % (18.2 +
17.7 + 11.3 + 2.8) of the reported sexual abuse. This data is
disputable.

  • Some Child Protective Services workers
    regard a male parent bathing his young children (those who cannot bathe
    themselves or require supervision for their own safety) as sexual abuse. That
    standard is not applied to female parents.
     

  • There is an anomaly in the reports. The
    ratio between male parent only and female parent only sexual child abuse is
    (20.8 : 3.9) – 5.33 to 1. However, the ratio between female parent (and
    another) and male parent (and another) sexual child abuse is (11 : 2) – 5.5 to
    1. The report does not explain the nearly equal reversal of ratios and does
    not explain the apparent changes in behaviors.
     

  • False family violence, child molestation,
    and child abuse accusations are common in family law settings. I have seen
    estimates of false accusations approaching 90 percent in literature written by
    judges.  Yet,  children are often forced to support these false
    accusations under the promise of parental reunification and other threats and
    inducements.  This can have long term consequences for a child (or the
    children) and the falsely accused parent.  This is noted in the San Diego
    County Grand Jury Report cited later in this paper.

              

Combined Averaged Child
Mistreatment
Perpetrator Relationship to
Child
Percent (1) Percent (2)
Female parent
only
43.7 30.4
Male parent
only
19.5 19.9
Both
parents
16.4 15.0
Female parent
and another
7.8 8.8
Other 4.3 8.7
Family
relative
3.2 8.2
Unknown 3.2 5.9
Substitute Care
Provider
1.6 2.0
Male parent and another 1.2 1.4
Notes

(1) This column
excludes sexual abuse.
(2) This column includes sexual abuse.
(3)
The report notes that “Percentages are based on a duplicated count of
324,486 victims. Duplication exists because some perpetrators victimized
more than one child, and each relationship is
counted.”

Mothers account for 59.7% (43.7 +
8.2 + 7.8), fathers account for 28.9% (19.5 + 8.2 + 1.2), and non-parents
account for 12.3% (4.3 + 3.2.+ 3.2 + 1.6) of the total combined mistreatment of
children (not including sexual assault).

Mothers account for 46.7% (30.4 +
7.5 + 8.8), fathers account for 28.8% (19.9 + 7.5 + 1.4), and non-parents
account for 24.8% (8.7 + 8.2.+ 5.9 + 2.0) of the total combined mistreatment of
children (including sexual assault).

Missing Data
None of the statistics identify emotional and
psychological abuses such as:

  • Arguing or fighting in the presence of
    children.

  • Using violent, vulgar, or upsetting
    language in the presence of children.

  • Using a child as a physical or
    psychological shield in arguments.

  • One parent’s attempt at (or the
    accomplishment of) alienating a child (or the children) against the other
    parent.

Summary – The reports
states “Data on perpetrators from 21 States indicate that, 554,047 perpetrators
identified, 61.8 percent were female and 38.2 percent were male.”  The
following list shows the various measures of mistreatment.  The ratio is
female to male and ratio is mother to father for parental mistreatment, neglect,
or abuse of children

Report Female Male Ratio
Total Mistreatment 61.8% 38.2% 1.62
Combined Parental Mistreatment 59.7% 28.9% 2.07
Parental Neglect 69.2% 22.7% 3.05
Parental Physical Abuse 50.0% 35.0% 1.43
Parental Sexual Abuse (see below) 21.1% 29.0% 0.73

The San Diego County Grand
Jury
reported, “There is no dispute within the Juvenile Dependency System
that false allegations of sexual molest during custody disputes occur and that
the system fails to deal with them properly.  There is, however,
considerable dispute about how to handle these cases.  The Jury has found
that a parent making a false allegation of abuse or molest during a custody
dispute is very likely to achieve the desired result.  These accusations
are made primarily to avoid visitation and joint custody provisions and the
accuser frequently succeeds.” 


Fatal Child
Maltreatment

I wanted to express fatal child maltreatment
in terms that involved at least one parent. So I selected the following five
relationships: female parent only, both parents, male parent only, female parent
and another, and male parent and another. This is why I excluded the remaining
four relationships that include: other, family relative, unknown, and substitute
care worker from the fatal child maltreatment figures.

Most child fatalities are a result of
neglect (38.2%), physical abuse (26.1%), or both (22.7%).  This says
that  87 percent of fatal child maltreatment are a result of neglect,
physical abuse, or both.  The percentages for each relationship leading to
fatal child maltreatment appear in the table below. The percentages may not add
to 100 due to rounding.

Fatal
Maltreatment
Perpetrator Percent
Female parent
only
31.5
Both
parents
21.3
Female parent
and another
16.3
Male parent only 10.7
Substitute Care
Provider
 6.1
Other 5.7
Family
relative
4.5
Unknown 2.7
Male parent and another 1.1

The following adjustments are the same that
I used in Child Maltreatment.  When both parents commit the crime, I assign
half of the percentage (rounded up) to each parent. When one parent and another
commit the crime, I assign the full percentage to the parent.

Fatal Maltreatment Table
(Mother)
Perpetrator Percent
Female
parent only
31.5
Both
parents (21.3  /  2)
10.7
Female
parent and another
16.3
Total 58.5
Fatal Maltreatment Table
(Father)
Perpetrator Percent
Male
parent only
10.7
Both
parents  (21.3  / 
2)
10.7
Male
parent and another
1.1
Total 22.5

Mothers are responsible for 58.5
percent of child deaths, fathers are responsible for 22.5 percent, and 19
percent are attributed to non parents.  Mothers are 2.6 times more likely
than fathers to fatally neglect or physically abuse their children.

Children less than one are at the
greatest risk and constitute 42.6 percent of the total maltreatment
fatalities.  Children in the one to five year age group constitute 43.5
percent of the fatalities.  So, children less than six years of age
constitute 86.1 percent of the total child maltreatment fatalities.  After
the age two, the victims of fatal maltreatment are more often boys than
girls.

The relationship data shows that children who live
with their father and another stable person are by far safer than remaining with
their mothers. 

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