Child Maltreatment in United States: An Examination of Child Reports and Substantiation Rates

The International Journal of Children's Rights
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  • 1 Georgia State University
  • 2 Georgia State University
  • 3 Georgia State University

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Abstract

Child maltreatment represents a serious threat to children's rights and is a grave problem in the US and around the world. It is the second leading cause of death for children in the US. Each year, hundreds of thousands of reports are made to child protective services across the US. A fraction of these reports are made by the alleged victims of child maltreatment. While research into maltreatment reporting has generally focused on adult reporters, research on reports made by children themselves has been largely ignored. Data from a national child maltreatment reporting system were analyzed to first describe and then compare reports of maltreatment made by the alleged child victim to other adult reporters. Results indicated that a minority of self-reports are substantiated by child protective services and that the type of maltreatment most often reported by the alleged child victim differed significantly from other adult reporters. Differences related to the gender, race and ethnicity of the child reporter were also found.

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