Child Abuse Awareness Month

Child Abuse Awareness Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about the prevalence of child abuse, provide prevention and early intervention to child abuse, provide assessment and reporting tools, and develop resources to help children and families heal from child abuse. 

What is child abuse? The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) defines child abuse as “Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation [ ]; or an act or failure to act, which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”

According to The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, section 104, “the definition of “child abuse” … include[s] human trafficking and the production of child pornography and authorizes grants to develop and implement specialized programs to identify and provide direct services to victims of child pornography.”

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau published The Child Maltreatment Report 2019 with information from National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, which includes data about child abuse reporting, victims and perpetrators of child abuse, fatalities due to child abuse, risk factors for child abuse, pre and post reporting services, and data on sex trafficking. Below is a list of data found in The Child Maltreatment Report 2019.

Who made child abuse reports:

  • 68.6% of reports made for alleged child abuse and neglect were made by professionals, such as social services professionals, medical professionals, school professionals, police officers and lawyers. 

Who are the victims of child abuse?

  • 9.4 per 1,000 girls in the population
  • 8.4 per 1,000 boys in the population
  • 28.1% of victims are under 2 years old

Who perpetrates child abuse?

  • 77.5% of perpetrators are a parent to the victim
  • 83% of perpetrators are between the ages of 18 and 44
  • 53% of perpetrators are female and 46.1% are male
  • 48.9% of perpetrators are White, 21.1% are African American, and 19.7% are Hispanic

Prenatal Child Abuse:

  • 38,625 infants were reported to CPS due to prenatal substance exposure across 47 states in 2019

Fatalities Due to Child Abuse:

  • 34.3% of children who died by child abuse had at least 1 prior CPS contact within 5 years of their death

Risk Factors for Child Abuse:

  • Alcohol abuse in a caregiver
  • Drug abuse in a caregiver
  • Financial Problems
  • Inadequate Housing
  • Families in need of Public Assistance
  • Any Caregiver Disability, including Intellectual Disability, Emotional Disturbance, Visual or Hearing Impairment, Learning Disability, Physical Disability, and Other Medical Condition.

Services Obtained Pre and Post Child Abuse Report:

  • The average time for CPS to respond to a child abuse report is 102 hours (4.3 days), with a median response time of 64 hours (2.7 days)
  • 1,902,429 children and families received Child Abuse Prevention Services across 47 states in 2019
  • 1,279,364 child and families received services from a CPS agency after a report was made

Reports of Sex Trafficking as Child Abuse:

  • 877 unique victims of sex trafficking were reported across 29 states in 2109


If you are a mandated reported that needs resources to file a child abuse report, here are the Child Abuse Report Hotline numbers for Southern California. A comprehensive list of all of the Child Abuse Reporting Hotlines for each counties within California can be found at: 

Los Angeles County (800)-540-4000 – Within CA
(213)-639-4500 – Outside CA
(800)-272-6699 – TDD
Online Reporting:
Orange County (714)-940-1000
Riverside County (800)-442-4918
San Diego County (858)-560-2191



Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2019). About CAPTA: A legislative history. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. Available from

Cornyn, John (2015). S.178 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015. Available from

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2021). Child Maltreatment 2019. Available from statistics-research/child-maltreatment.