The commentary "How to fight child abuse" by R.A. Dickey and Grier Weeks makes a powerful argument for increasing federal spending to stop the sexual abuse of children. But even if fully funded, it would not be enough because sexual abuse is just one form of rampant violence against children in the U.S.
Some 3 million reports of abuse and neglect, involving 6 million children, are made each year to child protection agencies. Child abuse deaths — children killed in their own homes by family members and caretakers — exceed 2,000 a year. Eighty percent of the children are younger than 4. Half are younger than 1.
Since the start of the Afghanistan War, the U.S. has witnessed the terrible loss of 2,000 military personnel in that conflict. In the same period, nearly 25,000 American children have been killed by someone they trusted. The federal response to these preventable deaths is underwhelming. Nowhere near the attention and resources required to stop physical, sexual and emotional abuse have been committed. Nothing less than a comprehensive national, state and local strategy is needed.
Download a report on child abuse deaths, "We Can Do Better."
Michael R. Petit, president; Every Child Matters; Washington, D.C.