Child abuse and neglect remains a significant public health and social problem in the United States. Epidemiologic methods provide a systematic approach for surveillance, determination of risk factors, and estimates of service delivery needs on the basis of prevalence and incidence estimates. During the past decade, the information provided by many multidisciplinary studies has increased awareness about child maltreatment, improved the treatment of families and offenders, and promoted stricter law enforcement. This work is at the base of the current trend that shows a decline in child abuse and neglect, with 38,000 less children abused in 2004 compared with the previous year, according to ‘Child Maltreatment 2004,’ a report from the Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2006). This entry reviews the ...

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