Child abuse and neglect continue to be serious problems in U.S. society. At some time in their careers, all school personnel are likely to encounter a child who has been maltreated. Through early identification and prevention efforts, educators can play a critical role in helping these children.

Prevalence of Child Maltreatment

In most instances, acts of child abuse and neglect are initially unknown to anyone except the child and the perpetrator. Given the private nature of these acts, the child's concern about stigmatization and loss, and the offender's fear of criminal prosecution, many instances of abuse and neglect are not reported to authorities. Prevalence rates are hard to ascertain, and are estimated from two sources: reports of substantiated child abuse, and surveys in which adults are asked ...

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