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Child Abuse

Confirmed child abuse and neglect cases: number and rate per 10,000 children under age 18


Social environment
Physical health status

Rationale for use of indicator

Child abuse and neglect is both a health problem and an indicator of underlying social environmental problems.

Risk Factors

Substance abuse, poverty, and economic stress have been shown to contribute to child abuse and neglect. The growing numbers of young persons with disabilities and pathological family relationships also contribute to child abuse.


Children are a vulnerable population and their abuse and neglect requires immediate attention in the form of a community response. The first level of intervention is through having adequately staffed Child Protective Services to specifically intervene in cases of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. The second level of intervention should aim at correcting the underlying social problems, e.g. substance abuse. Child abuse and neglect has also been shown to be underreported; it is a bigger problem than the numbers might show it to be.

Data Source

Data from Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services: 1997 Legislative Data Book [Online: http://www.tdprs.state.tx.us/]


Children at Risk. [Online: http://www.childrenatrisk.org/the_indicators.html ] July 1999.

Institute of Medicine. 1997. Improving health in the community: A role for performance monitoring. Washington, D.C.:

National Academy Press. National Center for Health Statistics. Health status indicators: Definitions and national data. Healthy People 2000 Statistical Notes 1992;1(3):1-8.