In Virginia, a child is abused or neglected every 80 minutes and every 8 days a child dies from maltreatment.
Source – Virginia Performs, 2016 report
Where do these statistics come from? The Department of Social Services provides a yearly count for every state. They look and measure the numbers of abuse in multiple ways.
Let’s look at referrals of abuse per 1,000 children in Hampton Roads as this is the most meaningful and statistically sound way. Look at the map. Some areas had more referrals than others. The map indicates referral rates by color.
In the Champions service area, 40 referrals of abuse per 1,000 children were received in 2016. There are 347,002 children under 17 years of age in this region. That is 13,819 referrals.
Founded victim count is always a lower total because evidence is required as well as record keeping and follow through and the backing of state laws. In the mapped service area, the founded victim count for 2016 is 1,205.
That is, 1,205 children in Hampton Roads were found to be abuse victims in 2016. And what about the ones that were not found – not reported, not accepted as a valid referral, referred for different services, or not even known about?
You see, child abuse is often hidden, many times it is hard to see. Very young children cannot report. Older children live in fear of further punishment and feelings of guilt and shame. These feelings make it more likely that they will keep their abuse hidden away from others.
So, last year – 1,205 victims right here in Hampton Roads and how many more that we have not counted??