Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Child abuse and female perpetrators

Recently on ABC news:
An estimated 56 percent of all abusers -- physical, mental and sexual -- are women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common form is psychological.

"It happens a lot," said Dr. Philip R. Muskin, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. "Neglect and emotional abuse are every bit as damaging as sexual abuse."

Abuse can include name calling; threatening to kill the victim's family or pet; controlling access to finances; isolating the victim from family and friends; coercing the victim to perform degrading, humiliating or illegal acts; interfering with job, medical or educational opportunities; or making the victim feel powerless and ashamed.

Numerous studies have shown that maternal behaviors like constant criticism, withholding affection or humiliation can take a toll on children, adversely affecting their academic achievement, social growth and self-worth.
A closer look at the 56 percent number can be found on the CDC page - The Child Maltreatment Report 2008
This Child Maltreatment 2008 report, now in its 19th edition, presents national data about child abuse and neglect known to CPS agencies in the United States during Federal fiscal year (FFY) 2008. The data were collected and analyzed through the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) supported by the Children’s Bureau. [...] For FFY 2008, 56.2 percent of the perpetrators were women, 42.6 percent were men and 1.1 percent were of unknown sex.2 Of the women who were perpetrators, more than 40 percent (45.3%) were younger than 30 years of age, compared with one-third of the men (35.2%) (figure 5–1). These proportions have remained consistent for the past few years.
Not really surprising. It is always nice to have official numbers though.

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