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Child Abuse

Child abuse and neglect are a major component of many children and adults’ mental and behavioral disorders such as delayed development, poor academic performance, substance abuse, and domestic and criminal violence. The dashboard shows that the numbers of child abuse and neglect in the region fluctuated between 2017 and 2022. In 2022, 578 children under 18 years old (11 in 1,000) in the region were abused and neglected. Of this number, over 50% were children aged 6 and under.

Data Notes

Data Notes
Definition Child Abuse:  Any person under the age of 18 who is believed to have been harmed or at risk of harm by their parents, guardians, or other caregivers. There are five types of abuse and neglect:

  • Neglect:  When a parent or guardian does not provide for the basic needs of a child, though capable of doing so. Neglect can include not meeting physical, medical, educational or emotional needs.
  • Physical Abuse:  A physical injury as a result of being hit, kicked, choked, thrown, pushed, or whipped by a parent or guardian. This may result in marks, cuts, burns, blisters, scratches, broken bones, sprains, dislocated joints, lifelong injury or death.
  • Sexual Abuse:  The fondling of genitalia, exposure to sexually explicit material, penetration, incest, rape, indecent exposure and exploitation though prostitution or creating child pornography by a caregiver.
  • Exposure to Domestic Violence:  Domestic violence itself is not a form of child abuse, but exposure to domestic violence, and/or witnessing the aftermath of domestic violence can have an effect on children that is similar to the effects of children who experience physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Episodes of domestic violence may become more frequent and more severe over time and can lead to child abuse if it is not already happening.
  • Emotional Abuse:  Emotional or psychological abuse is repeated behavior by an adult or caregiver that stunts a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may come in the form of threats, rejection, dehumanizing language, ongoing criticism, shaming or humiliation, and isolation.
Data Source S.C. Department of Social Services (SCDSS), Division of Accountability, Data, and Research
Last Updated April 2023