(HealthDay News) – The number of child neglect and abuse cases reported in the United States dropped in 2011, with an estimated 681,000 unique victims, according to the Child Maltreatment 2011 report.

Researchers from the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) used data submitted to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to examine the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in 2011.

According to the report, in 2011, 51 states reported 676,569 victims of child abuse and neglect (9.1 victims per 1,000 children), for a national estimate of 681,000 unique victims. Forty-two states reported a decrease in the number of victims compared to 2010. The highest rate of victimization was 21.2 per 1,000 children and was seen from birth to age 1. The most common forms of maltreatment were neglect (78.5%), physical abuse (17.6%), and sexual abuse (9.1%). In 2011, there were 1,545 fatalities resulting from maltreatment (2.10 deaths per 100,000 children), with 81.6% of all fatalities occurring in children <4 years old. Most unique perpetrators (84.6%) were aged 20–46, and 53.6% were women. More than 80% of duplicated perpetrators were parents, of which 87.6% were the biological parents.

“We have made excellent progress over the past five years,” George Sheldon, JD, acting assistant secretary of the HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, said in a statement. “We must continue coordination efforts among federal, state and local agencies to focus on child maltreatment prevention.”

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