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Gender Differences in Abused Children With and Without Disabilities

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 21 Issue: 8 Dated: August 1997 Pages: 707-720
Dick Sobsey; Wade Randall; Raundo K. Parrila
Date Published
August 1997
14 pages
Data from 1,249 case files from a previous study formed the basis of an analysis of the proportion of male and female victims in various categories of substantiated child abuse and among children with and without disabilities.
Previous researchers collected data from a demographically representative sample of child abuse reporting districts. The 1,249 case files involved 1,834 children. The current study noted the number of females and males who did and did not have disabilities for three age categories and for several categories of child abuse. The research used chi-square analyses to determine whether a relationship existed between disability and gender for the various age and abuse categories. More males than females were physically abused and neglected, but more females were sexually abused. However, males with disabilities were overrepresented in all categories of abuse. In addition, gender proportions among abused children with disabilities differed significantly from those among other abused children. Slightly more than half of abused children without disabilities were females, whereas 65 percent of abused children with disabilities were males. Findings indicated that males represented a significantly larger proportion of physically abused, sexually abused, and neglected children with disabilities than would be expected from their respective proportion of abused and neglected children without disabilities. The gender differences may result from the underdiagnosis of disabilities among abused females, from factors that increase the relative risk for males with disabilities, or from some combination of causes. Further research is recommended. Tables and 23 references (Author abstract modified)