- Polling Issues
Child abuse

The maltreatment of children includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse as well as neglect. In 2018, complaints of neglect accounted for about 60% of all child abuse reports - followed by physical abuse (10%) and sexual abuse (7%). More than 15% of these children have suffered more than one form of abuse. Each year, more than 3.5 million complaints of child abuse are reported to our nation's child protective services, and nearly 2 million of these reports are substantiated. An estimated 1,770 American children died from physical abuse and neglect in 2018 - and about 85% of these kids were under the age of 6, while 35%-40% were under the age of 1.

In over 90% of all sexual assaults, the victim knows the perpetrator. But it is estimated that more than 70% of child victims do not report sexual abuse to anyone for a year, and 45% do not tell anyone for at least 5 years. Child advocates claim the number of physical child abuse cases is also greatly underreported. Many victims and witnesses do not report these domestic assaults due to fears of retaliation, family disruption, or for many other reasons. Advocates say this shows the need to develop prevention programs that reduce death and disability from child abuse, including strategies that help parents and caregivers respond in nonviolent ways to the stresses of caring for young children.

In addition to the tragic toll our current opioid crisis has taken on many families across the country, this scourge has also significantly increased the incidence of child abuse. In 2014, more than 40% of children in a relative’s foster home were there because of parental substance use. Many children are now born suffering from drug exposure, and their parents’ addiction struggle often leads to toxic stress or involvement with the child welfare system.

Pending Legislation: Senate version of H.R.485 - Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (passed House)
Sponsor: Rep. Robert Scott (VA)
Status: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Chair: Sen. Patty Murray (WA)

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Poll Opening Date
September 19, 2022
Poll Closing Date
September 25, 2022

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