Study Shows Drop in Child Abuse
Child abuse is one of those taboo things that just about everyone can rally against. After all, it takes a heartless and cold person to deliberately harm a child in any way, shape, or form. It's one of those societal issues that you wish would just stop. Period.
Unfortunately, while child abuse can't be snuffed out that easily, there is good news stemming from a recent study that showed reported cases are on the decline.
The study, conducted by the federal government, reported that from 1993 to 2006, there was a 38 percent decline in child sex abuse, a 27 percent decrease in emotional abuse, and a 15 percent drop in physical abuse. Specifically, researchers said the number of children considered abused under the study's definition fell to 553,300 in the 2005-2006 time frame compared with 743,200 in 1993.
Child advocate David Finkelhor told CBS News that he credits a "troop surge" in the war on child abuse in the 90s for the overall decrease.
"There were lots of child protection workers, there were new law enforcement agents, there were specialized domestic violence prevention groups," he said. "There were prosecutors who were detailed to prosecute child molesters."
Despite the good news, however, some warn against trumpeting these numbers as the study was conducted prior to the economy hitting rock bottom.
Dr. Linda Cahill, head of the J.E. and Z.B. Butler Child Advocacy Center at New York's Montefiore hospital, told the New York Times that child abuse is definitely influenced by the economy. "It's influenced by parental stress, by unemployment, a lack of adequate housing and food," she said.
Cahill also told the Times that the public should be leery of the study because it focuses on the reported rate of child abuse, not the actual, which she said is virtually impossible to know.Continued on the next page