According to ChildHelp, five children in the US die everyday from abuse. According to the Child Welfare League of America, in California in 2010, there were 343,793 total referrals for child abuse and neglect and 82,879 children were victims of abuse or neglect.
The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum, “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.”
In 2012, a 20 year study on child abuse was concluded. This study surveyed child deaths in Sacramento County and the causes from 1990-2009.
According to the study, there were 158 Child Abuse and Neglect homicide deaths from 1990 through 2009, 63% of all child deaths in the county.
Many of those deaths took place in South Sacramento, North Highlands, and Del Paso Heights shown in the map on page 7.
Recently in the Natomas area, a nine year old boy was killed, presumably by his own father.
“It’s horrible,” said Anna McDowell, a Sacramento resident. “No child ever deserves to be abused or killed.”
However, not all victims of child abuse and neglect are killed. These children grow up to become members of society. Children who are abused are more likely to commit crimes, experience teen pregnancy, heavily drink and use drugs, and possibly even abuse their own children.
“Many of the ones who survive are scarred for life,” said Denise Watkins, a preschool teacher. “Most of the time they can’t become functional members of society. Even if they don’t become abusers or drug users, They need a lot of psychological help.”
The horrible cycle of abuse and neglect continues to hurt the children of Sacramento.
For more information about child abuse and how to prevent it, click here.