NEW YORK — A massive new federal study documents an unprecedented and dramatic decrease in incidents of serious child abuse, especially sexual abuse. Experts hailed the findings as proof that crackdowns and public awareness campaigns had made headway.Maybe there is less abuse, but I think that it is more likely that there are fewer false accusations of abuse. Or maybe it is just being reported differently.
An estimated 553,000 children suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse in 2005-06, down 26 percent from the estimated 743,200 abuse victims in 1993, the study found.
"It's the first time since we started collecting data about these things that we've seen substantial declines over a long period, and that's tremendously encouraging," said professor David Finkelhor of the University of New Hampshire, a leading researcher in the field of child abuse.
I gave a link to this report last week, but the reporter doesn't read my blog! The article complains:
One curious aspect of the study was the manner of its release. Although HHS had launched the study in 2004 and invested several million dollars, it was posted a few days ago on the Internet with no fanfare — neither a press release nor a news conference. Finkelhor, noting that experts in the field had been impatiently awaiting the study, described this low-profile approach as "shocking."That explains the lack of publicity. If the report does not have scare stories to justify increases in welfare funding, then what good is it? The agencies should have their funding cut, if there is less abuse to investigate.
The findings might be disconcerting to some in the child-welfare field who base their funding pitches on the specter of ever-rising abuse rates, said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.
I am amused by these people who somehow have appropriate names. The expert on this subject has a name that combines "fink" and "whore"! Those are two words that come to mind when I think of CPS agents investigating child abuse.