20, No. 3
Emotional Abuse in North Carolina: What Administrative Data Tell Us
Figures and data in this article are from Duncan, 2015
North Carolina's Juvenile Code defines emotional abuse as something that occurs when a parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker of a juvenile creates or allows to be created serious emotional damage to the juvenile. To confirm (i.e., substantiate) emotional abuse, a child welfare agency must show the emotional damage experienced by the child is the result of a parent's action or inaction.
Here's what administrative data tell us about CPS assessments of child emotional abuse in NC.
CPS Assessments for Emotional Abuse
As Figure 1 illustrates, the number of children reported as possible emotional abuse victims between January 2006 and January 2015 varied each month, from a low of 29 (June 2013) to a high of 106 (March 2011).
Emotional Abuse Findings
Traits of Emotional Abuse Victims
Gender. Girls were somewhat more likely than boys to be reported to be victims of emotional abuse (53% vs. 47%) and to have those allegations substantiated (56% for girls vs. 44% for boys).
Age. Children attending school are more likely to be substantiated as emotional abuse victims. As Figure 2 shows, 47% of victims were age 6 to 12, 31% were age 13 and older, and 22% were age 5 and younger.