Rereporting and Recurrence of Child Maltreatment: Findings from NCANDS: Research Brief. What factors were associated with children who were rereported and/or revictimized?


  • Repeat reports and repeat victimization were both more likely if the initial report came from daycare providers, foster care providers, or nonprofessionals, compared with those first reported by other professional sources. Reports by medical and law enforcement personnel were associated with a lower likelihood of rereporting and revictimization.
  • Younger children were more likely than older ones to be rereported and revictimized.
  • Victims were more likely to experience recurrence if their caregivers abused alcohol.
  • Services predicted both rereports and recurrence. Children who received services after an initial report were at higher risk, but victims placed in foster care were more likely to experience rereports but less likely to experience recurrence. This may be because services are associated with more serious incidents of maltreatment, and because foster care limits the access of the perpetrator to the child.
  • The likelihood of both rereporting and recurrence was highest shortly after the initial event. As the length of time following the first report increased, the number of rereports and recurrences per child decreased. For example, 8 percent of children experienced a recurrence of maltreatment within the first 12 months, but an additional 3 years was needed before this percentage doubled to 17 percent.

Previous research has highlighted the difficulty of developing comprehensive services that are effective in reducing rereporting. Policies and practices designed to address the common risk factors may be effective in addressing the range of rereporting outcomes. For example, policies aimed at reducing maltreatment among young children and children whose parents abuse alcohol may be effective in addressing both rereporting and recurrence.

Findings from this study also draw attention to a group of children who experience a brief period of intense involvement with the CPS system. While this is a relatively small fraction of the children, gaining a clearer understanding of this population may serve to highlight needed areas of improvement in the system of intervention. Ideally, this analysis will help to facilitate the design and implementation of more effective and targeted services, and help in focusing continued inquiry regarding children who are at risk.

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