Facts About Abuse

in 10 boys and girls in the US will be sexually abused before they are 18.

Every 10 seconds a child is reported abused or neglected in the US.

children are abused each day in the United States.

of these children die each day as a result of abuse and/or neglect.


Over 90% of abuse is by someone known to the child.

Children who are abused and/or neglected often have social, cognitive, and economic difficulties in adulthood. Studies have shown that they are more likely to have low rates of academic achievement, poor coping and decision-making skills while they also fail to develop adequate and positive social support networks. In addition to suffering from the immediate physical injuries, victims of child abuse and neglect are more likely to develop behaviors that lead to obesity, diabetes, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and other chronic diseases.

Studies have shown that children who are abused or witness abuse are also at a higher risk of becoming violent themselves, particularly toward their own children and/or spouses. According to a National Institute of Justice study, abused and neglected children are 11 times more likely to be arrested for criminal behavior as a juvenile, 2.7 times more likely to be arrested for violent and criminal behavior as an adult, and 3.1 times more likely to be arrested for a violent crime as juveniles or adults. Additionally, approximately 30% of abused and neglected children will eventually victimize their own children, according to a study by Prevent Child Abuse New York.

The impact of child abuse and neglect is often discussed in terms of physical, psychological, behavioral, and societal consequences. In reality, according to Child Welfare information Gateway, it is impossible to separate them completely. “Physical consequences, such as damage to a child’s growing brain, can have psychological implications such as cognitive delays or emotional difficulties. Psychological problems often manifest as high-risk behaviors. Depression and anxiety, for example, may make a person more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol or illicit drugs, or overeat. High-risk behaviors, in turn, can lead to long-term physical health problems such as sexually transmitted diseases, cancer, and obesity.”

In order to succeed in life and be healthy, active members of the metropolitan community, the next generation of adults in the Greater Richmond area must grow up in safe and nurturing homes. The best way to positively impact abused/neglected children is to improve their parents’ functioning and their home environment.

During the 2020-21 fiscal year, according to the Department of Social Services:

founded cases of child abuse and/or neglect in Virginia.

estimated children died as a result of abuse and/or neglect in Virginia.

reports of substance-exposed newborns.

children were in founded cases of abuse and/or neglect in Central VA area.

children involved in valid reports that received a family assessment and were referred to intervention services such as SCAN's.


of maltreated children experienced physical neglect.


of maltreated children were victims of physical abuse.


of maltreated children were victims of sexual abuse.

Signs of Abuse and Neglect

Any of these signs may be noticeable at one time or another. If they occur repeatedly or in combination with one another, the child may be suffering from abuse.

To report a suspected case of abuse, please call 1-800-552-7096.

There are four different types of abuse:

  • Physical: injuries, such as beatings, burns (including hot water scalds), and bites
  • Verbal: constant criticism, insults, the withholding of love
  • Sexual: Rape, fondling of the genitals, incest
  • Neglect: failure to provide appropriate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care to the extent that the child’s health or safety in endangered

Children who are physically abused may:

  • Be nervous around adults
  • Be watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Have difficulty playing
  • Act aggressively toward adults and other children
  • Be unable to concentrate at school
  • Suddenly underachieve-or overachieve-at school
  • Find it difficult to trust other people and make friends
  • Arrive at school too early, or leave after the other children

Children who are sexually abused may:

  • Behave differently when abuse starts
  • Care less about their appearance and/or health
  • Talk or act sexually at too early an age
  • Be secretive and stop talking about their home lives
  • Start soiling themselves
  • Be unable to sleep
  • Suddenly find physical contact frightening
  • Run away from home

Children who are neglected or emotionally abused may:

  • Have difficulty learning to talk
  • Find it hard to develop close relationships
  • Be overly friendly with strangers
  • Be unable to play imaginatively
  • Think badly of themselves
  • Underachieve at school

Keys to Prevention

  • Remember that children are the future: Their early years have an enormous impact on their future health and success.
  • Recognize prevention is a shared responsibility: As citizens, we are responsible for ensuring that all families have access to the support, information and services they need to succeed.
  • Raise the issue of prevention: We all care about the issue of child abuse, but we must also care about prevention. Ask local officials to support services that help families. Encourage schools and faith communities to sponsor classes/programs for new parents.
  • Reach out to kids and parents: Anything you do to support kids and parents in your family and community helps reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. Be a good neighbor. Donate items to programs for families. Be supportive, particularly to new parents.
  • Recommend programs, services, and activities that your community can use to support families and prevent child abuse: Facilitate opportunities for parents in the neighborhood to build friendships and a support network. Respond to family crises by providing additional support. Link families to essential services such as health care, mental health treatment, job training, and education.

For additional information, visit www.preventchildabuse.org