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June 2012

Child Maltreatment Research, Policy, and Practice for the Next DecadeHighlights From an Institute of Medicine/National Research Council Workshop

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: The Board on Children, Youth, and Families at the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, Washington, DC (Dr Stroud); and Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Dr Petersen).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(6):506-508. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.710

Child maltreatment, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect, affects a large number of children in the United States. The most recent (fourth) National Incidence Study found that more than 1.25 million children experienced maltreatment in 2005 and 2006, using the more stringent Harm Standard definition, which generally only classifies an act or omission as abuse or neglect if it results in demonstrable harm.1 Using the more inclusive Endangerment Standard definition,1 the fourth National Incidence Study reported that nearly 3 million children experienced maltreatment, or 1 child in every 25 in the United States. More recent data indicate that the overall rate of child maltreatment deaths in fiscal year 2010 is estimated at 2.07 deaths per 100 000 children.2 Beyond these most tragic cases, recent advances in neurobiology, gene × environment interaction, and immune function have highlighted the burden and long-lasting consequences of child maltreatment. The past 2 decades have seen increased research on child maltreatment and the development of effective preventive and therapeutic strategies. Many challenges still remain, however, particularly in the area of translating research to community practices that prevent future child maltreatment and help ensure the safety, recovery, and well-being of children who have been maltreated.

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