Report to the Congress on the Feasibility of Creating and Maintaining a National Registry of Child Maltreatment Perpetrators. Do perpetrators identified in more than one state have different or more severe patterns of child maltreatment than other perpetrators?


Our research found that perpetrators who had child maltreatment records in multiple states had similar patterns of maltreatment types compared to other perpetrators. That is, approximately two-thirds of interstate perpetrators (65 percent, or about 5,100 of the 7,850 interstate perpetrators in 2009) had been substantiated for neglect in the prior incident, nearly 19 percent (or about 1,450 individuals) had physically abused the child, and 7 percent (or approximately 550 individuals) had committed sexual abuse. Fewer had been found to have committed medical neglect or emotional abuse. This pattern of maltreatment types was virtually identical to that of all perpetrators nationally in 2009.

We looked at how many interstate perpetrators were associated with child fatalities and found that interstate perpetrators appeared less likely than those identified in a single state's data to be associated with a child fatality (1.98 per 1000 interstate perpetrators were associated with a child fatality as compared to 3.53 per 1000 within-state perpetrators). In the 22 states participating in the prevalence study, there were 4 interstate perpetrators and 921 within-state perpetrators associated with child fatalities.

In addition to looking at maltreatment types and fatalities, we examined whether interstate perpetrators were more or less likely to have had a child placed in foster care or for there to have been a court petition associated with their victims (that is, the maltreatment was the subject of a court action). These were examined because they are the only other variables available in NCANDS related to severity. We found both phenomena to be more likely for interstate perpetrators than those listed in a single state's data. That is, interstate perpetrators were somewhat more likely to have had a child placed in foster care (30 percent versus 20 percent for within-state perpetrators). With respect to court petitions, 28 percent of interstate perpetrators were associated with a court petition regarding the maltreatment as compared to 19 percent of within-state perpetrators. In both cases, however, only about one-third of perpetrators were associated with either a court petition or a foster care placement. It should also be noted that, by definition, interstate perpetrators had at least two substantiated maltreatment reports while within-state perpetrators may have only a single report. Therefore it is to be expected that such cases would be more likely to involve court petitions and/or foster care placements.

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