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Lifetime cost of child abuse: $210,000 per victim

As Pennsylvania's Task Force on Child Protection prepares for its next public meeting*, it seems timely to pass along the latest news about the horrific impact of child abuse.

While we’ve long known the costly emotional toll child abuse can have on its victims and others in their lives, a new study sheds some light on the lifetime financial toll abuse takes on victims.

The study, released by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates the average lifetime cost of child abuse at $210,012 per victim – an amount that includes $144,360 in productivity losses, $32,648 in childhood health care costs, $10,530 in adult medical costs, $7,999 in special education costs, $7,728 in child welfare costs, and $6,747 in criminal justice costs.

The CDC study estimates total lifetime financial costs associated with just one year of confirmed fatal and non-fatal abuse cases - including physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and neglect – to be a staggering $124 billion.

“Compared with other health problems, the burden of child maltreatment is substantial, indicating the importance of prevention efforts to address the high prevalence of child maltreatment,” the study concludes.

While the solutions to reducing abuse are complex and multi-faceted, the CDC cited several programs that have proven effective in this effort, including investments in Nurse–Family Partnership, which offers support and guidance to first-time parents.

If you know or suspect a child is being abused,callChildLine at1-800-932-0313.

* The Task Force on Child Protection meets at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 8, in Hearing Room 1 of the Capitol's North Office Building. 

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