We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

Why Have Child Maltreatment and Child Victimization Declined?


Various forms of child maltreatment and child victimization declined as much as 40–70% from 1993 until 2004, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, sexual assault, homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, and larceny. Other child welfare indicators also improved during the same period, including teen pregnancy, teen suicide, and children living in poverty. This article reviews a wide variety of possible explanations for these changes: demography, fertility and abortion legalization, economic prosperity, increased incarceration of offenders, increased agents of social intervention, changing social norms and practices, the dissipation of the social changes from the 1960s, and psychiatric pharmacology. Multiple factors probably contributed. In particular, economic prosperity, increasing agents of social intervention, and psychiatric pharmacology have advantages over some of the other explanations in accounting for the breadth and timing of the improvements.

The worrisome stories about crimes against children that regularly fill the
media have unfortunately obscured some more positive news from the statistical reports on these same offenses. Child victimization of various types has been declining since the early 1990s, in some cases declining dramatically.

Facts about the Decline

Here is some of the trend information pointing to improvements (for information
on sources, see the Appendix):

• Sexual abuse started to decline in the early 1990s, after at least 15 years of steady increases. From 1990 through 2004, sexual abuse substantiations were down 49% (Figure 1).

• Physical abuse substantiations joined the downward trend starting in the mid-1990s, in a decline that was most dramatic between 1997 and 2000. From 1992 through 2004, physical abuse substantiations have declined 43% (Figure 1).

• Sexual assaults of teenagers have dropped, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). From 1993 through 2004, overall sexual assaults decreased 67% (Figure 2). The subgroup of sexual assaults by known persons was down even more.

• Other crimes against teens 12–17 were also down dramatically as measured by the NCVS (Figure 2). Aggravated assaultwas down 74%, simple assault down 63%, robbery down 72%, and larceny down 55%. This has been in the context of a crime decline for victims of all ages.

• Juvenile victim homicides have declined 50% from 1993 to 2004, a drop that has been larger than the 42% drop in homicide for victims 18 and older. The drop has been more dramatic for the youth 14–17 (down 62%) than for younger children (down 36%) (Figure 3).

• Domestic violence has also been declining, according to the NCVS (Rennison & Welchans, 2000), down 49% from 1993 to 2001, meaning that children were probably being exposed to fewer violent parents.

For the remainder of this study: by David Finkelhor* and Lisa Jones, University of New Hampshire

No comments: