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The Cost of Child Abuse in the US Tops $80 Billion a Year

June 11, 2012

BISMARCK, N.D. - Responding to cases of child abuse and neglect costs the nation more than $80 billion a year, according to the latest survey from Prevent Child Abuse America.

That figure includes the costs that begin to add up as soon as the report of alleged child abuse comes in, says Tim Hathaway, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota.

"We've got law enforcement that are involved. Oftentimes, there are multiple county and state-level social work individuals that are involved, and there may be some immediate medical costs for the child or family."

Costs also come in the aftermath, he says, most notably for mental-health care because many children in abuse-and-neglect situations are more likely to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts.

The number of child abuse and neglect cases reported in 2010 in North Dakota was down slightly from the year before, Hathaway says, but the numbers still are far too large.

"There were 9,540 reports that were filed. In terms of cases that were indicated as needing services required, that boils down to about 3,875."

The report and more information is online at preventchildabuse.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND