The Division of Family Services investigated 11,235 reports of child abuse and neglect during 1988. But while the number of reports was down slightly from the previous year, the number of victims rose by 32 percent to 6,577.
According to the annual report of the Central Register for Child Abuse and Neglect, sexual abuse, physical neglect and physical abuse accounted for nearly two-thirds of all abuse cases in Utah. Non-supervision, emotional maltreatment, dependency, educational neglect, medical neglect and abandonment numbers were significantly lower.The report says that 1,513 of the victims had been sexually abused, in most cases by someone outside the immediate family. Conversely, most non-sexual child abuse and neglect was committed by parents and three-quarters of all abuse was perpetrated by someone living with the child.
The Central Register lists verified reports of child abuse and neglect and makes the information available to law enforcement officials, physicians, agencies responsible for the care or treatment of the child, guardians and prosecutors.
When suspected abuse is reported, the information is put into the register. If the charge is not substantiated, identifying information is removed within 30 days. Records are sealed 10 years after the child's 18th birthday, the report says.
During 1988, 3,820 of the victims were younger than 9, 2,737 were 9-18 and in 20 cases the victim's age was unknown. Just over half of the victims were female and just over half of the abusers were males.
Hospitalization was required in 228 cases and in 57, the abused child was left with a permanent disability. Five Utah children died of abuse and neglect last year.
The report also tracks services provided to the families of abuse victims. Those include counseling, referral to other agencies such as mental health or juvenile court, criminal action, shelter care, sex-abuse treatment, health and medical care, family preservation programs, public assistance referral, day care, crisis nursery, homemaker assistance and self-sufficiency courses.