Family Life Logo and Banner
"Pursuing science can aid mental health which consists in the use of reason or the use of judgment."
-Fr. Chad Ripperger
Banner includes image of Family
View Cart
Site Map
Research: Child Abuse & Safety of the Intact Family
The federal government also does not track family structure in considering the incidences of serious child abuse.

However, data from the United Kingdom, which on many social issues compare closely with the United States, show that:

Child Abuse Graphic
  • Serious child abuse is lowest in the always-married (intact) family.
  • It is six times higher in the stepfamily than in the intact family.
  • It is 14 times higher in families with single mothers (divorced & always-single mothers combined).
  • It is 20 times higher in families with single fathers (predominantly divorced fathers).
  • It is 20 times higher in families with cohabiting biological parents.
  • The most dangerous environment for a child is the home where the mother cohabits with a boyfriend; serious child abuse is 33 times higher in these homes. [1]
The same holds true for fatal child abuse rates, but the differences in rates are more pronounced. Most fatalities occur in homes where the mother cohabits with a boyfriend—the rate is 73 times higher than in intact families. The intact marriage of a natural mother and natural father is the greatest safeguard against child abuse.

Serious child abuse has increased steadily over the last few decades in the United States. Regrettably, the seriously abused or neglected child is most likely to become the psychopath who commits the most heinous crimes or the dangerous thug preying on residents of particular neighborhoods at night. As the rates of abuse go up, the numbers of violent criminals do as well. In Britain, a child whose biological mother cohabits was 33 times more likely to suffer serious abuse than a child with married parents.[2]

[1]Patrick F. Fagan and Dorothy B. Hanks, “The Child Abuse Crisis: The Disintegration of Marriage, Family, and the American Community,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1115, May 15, 1997.
[2]Source: Robert Whelan, Broken Homes and Battered Children, 1994.