A new federal study documents a dramatic decrease of serious child abuse, especially sexual abuse, reports the Associated Press. An estimated 553,000 children suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse in 2005-06, down 26 percent from the estimated 743,200 abuse victims in 1993, the study found. Experts credit law enforcement crackdowns and public awareness campaigns. The findings are in the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, a congressionally mandated study conducted periodically by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The study is based on information from more than 10,700 “sentinels” – such as child welfare workers, police officers, teachers, health care professionals and day care workers – in 122 counties across the country. The detailed data collected from them was used to make national estimates. The number of sexually abused children decreased from 217,700 in 1993 to 135,300 in 2005-2006 – a 38 percent drop, the study shows. The number of children who experienced physical abuse fell by 15 percent and the number of emotionally abused children dropped by 27 percent.