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One in Eight U.S. Children Will Be Maltreated by Age 18

Prevalence of maltreatment higher for black, Native American, Hispanic children than whites

TUESDAY, June 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Maltreatment is likely to be confirmed for one in eight U.S. children by age 18, according to a study published online June 2 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Christopher Wildeman, Ph.D., from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues used data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System Child File to estimate the cumulative prevalence of confirmed childhood maltreatment by age 18. Cumulative prevalence of confirmed maltreatment was estimated by race/ethnicity, sex, and year.

The researchers found that 12.5 percent of U.S. children will experience a confirmed case of maltreatment by age 18, based on rates from 2011. The prevalence was higher for girls (13.0 percent) than for boys (12.0 percent). Compared with white or Asian/Pacific Islander children (prevalence of 10.7 and 3.8 percent, respectively), prevalence was higher for black, Native American, and Hispanic children (20.9, 14.5, and 13.0 percent, respectively). The risk of maltreatment was highest in the first few years of life, with 2.1 and 5.8 percent of children, respectively, having confirmed maltreatment by 1 and 5 years of age.

"Our findings indicate that maltreatment will be confirmed for one in eight U.S. children by 18 years of age, far greater than the one in 100 children whose maltreatment is confirmed annually," the authors write.

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