Child Maltreatment Types by Age: Implications for Prevention

Kate Guastaferro, Stacey L. Shipe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Child maltreatment is a global public health issue known to affect an average of 600,000 U.S. children of all ages (0–18 years old) annually. However, a preponderance of preventive programs target children on the younger end of the spectrum, specifically those aged 0–5. Annual reports of the prevalence of maltreatment provide opportunities to analyze trends, but in 2009, these reports stopped reporting the ages of victims for each type of maltreatment (i.e., neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse). This omission limits the ability to match (or design) prevention programs responsive to the ages of those at greatest risk. Using data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) from 2011–2020, this secondary data analysis describes trends for four types of maltreatment by age from an epidemiological perspective. Implications for practice (i.e., prevention) and policy are presented. The findings of this study offer the first step in what is hoped to be a line of research that seeks to identify, match, and/or develop evidence-based programs to prevent child maltreatment among the populations at highest risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • child maltreatment
  • prevalence
  • prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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