The prevalence of child maltreatment across the globe: Review of a series of meta-analyses.

M. Stoltenborgh, M.J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, L.R.A. Alink, M.H. van IJzendoorn

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this review, we combine and compare the results of a series of meta-analyses on the prevalence of child sexual, physical and emotional abuse and physical and emotional neglect, including 244 publications and 551 prevalence rates for the various types of maltreatment. Child maltreatment research seems to be dominated by research on sexual abuse, studies in developed parts of the world and research using self-report measures. The overall estimated prevalence rates for self-report studies (mainly assessing maltreatment ever during childhood) were 127/1000 for sexual abuse (76/1000 among boys and 180/1000 among girls), 226/1000 for physical abuse, 363/1000 for emotional abuse, 163/1000 for physical neglect and 184/1000 for emotional neglect. The overall estimated prevalence rates for studies using informants (mainly assessing the 1-year prevalence of maltreatment) were four per 1000 for sexual abuse and three per 1000, respectively, for physical abuse and emotional abuse. We conclude that child maltreatment is a widespread, global phenomenon affecting the lives of millions of children all over the world, which is in sharp contrast with the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-50
Number of pages14
JournalChild Abuse Review
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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