Which age groups are at highest risk of physical child abuse?

Updated: Apr 24, 2017
  • Author: Angelo P Giardino, MD, MPH, PhD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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The NIS-4 incidence of Harm Standard physical abuse is significantly lower for the youngest children (2.5 cases per 1,000 children aged 0-2 y) compared with children aged 6-14 years (4.6 cases per 1,000 or higher). The fairly low incidence rates for children younger than 2 years may reflect a detection problem; because children who are younger than school age are less observable to community professionals, their abuse may avoid detection.

In Child Maltreatment 2010, a specific breakdown was not provided for physical abuse; however, the overall unique count for substantiated cases by age was as follows: 1-3 years (34.0%), 4-7 years (23.4%), 8-11 years (18.7%), 12-15 years (17.3%), and 16-17 years (6.2%). Children younger than 1 year had the highest rate of victimization overall, at 20.6% per 1,000 children in the population of the same age. [14]

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