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Child Abuse - Child Abuse Cases and Stories

Child Abuse Basics


Updated May 27, 2014

People often think that child abuse is something that happens in other families and other neighborhoods, but not close to them.

Unfortunately, child abuse statistics show that:

  • just over 1,500 children die each year in the United States from child abuse and neglect
  • 676,569 children were the victims of child abuse in 2011
  • 70 percent of child abuse victims are under age three years old
  • over 80 percent of the abused children were abused by one the child's parent
  • neglect is the most common form of child abuse, followed by physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and lastly, medical neglect

Most importantly, everyone should be aware that victims of child abuse come from all socioeconomic backgrounds, living situations, and races.

Child Abuse Cases and Stories

These child abuse cases and stories straight from the headlines of recent newspapers can help to highlight how common child abuse is so that everyone may be more likely to report suspected child abuse and neglect:

  • Neglect - Feb. 2009 - A mother in Dallas, Texas, was charged with neglect after her nine-year-old died from complications of diabetes after she failed to help her manage her disease.
  • Physical/Emotional Abuse - June 2008 - A mother in North Central Texas has her three children taken away because of a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
  • Physical Abuse - Jan. 2009 - Two parents in Dallas, Texas, were charged with abusing their six-month-old infant so severely that he was in intensive care and it was thought that he was not going to be able to recover.
  • Physical Abuse - Jan. 2009 - A mother's boyfriend was charged with the death of her six-year-old son.
  • Physical Abuse - Dec. 2008 - A father was charged with the death of his three-month-old infant who was found unresponsive, with bone fractures and liver lacerations.
  • Physical Abuse - Feb. 2009 - A father in Lodi, California, was charged with physical abuse after a school employee noticed and reported burns on a six-year old student, which were thought to have been inflicted by a clothes iron. She had also been beaten with a stick and her mother was charged with child endangerment.
  • Physical Abuse - Feb. 2009 - A mother and her live-in boyfriend in Janesville, Wisconsin, were charged with abuse after repeatedly hitting her three-year-old daughter to the point that she required emergency brain surgery.
  • Physical Abuse - Feb. 2009 - The boyfriend of a child's mother in Wilmington, Delaware, hit and killed a 16-month old girl because she wouldn't stop crying.
  • Physical Abuse - Feb. 2009 - A nine-year-old was beaten by his mother's boyfriend in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
  • Physical Abuse - Jan. 2009 - In Fall River, Massachusetts, a mother was charged with burning her four-year-old foster son with a curling iron, causing third-degree burns that required skin graft surgery.

Unfortunately, many more cases of child abuse go unreported.

If you think a child is being abused or neglected, report it.

Most states have a child abuse reporting number or hotline that you can use so that child welfare specialists can investigate suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.


National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. Child Maltreatment 2011. Accessed April 2013. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/child-maltreatment-2011

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