A perpetrator is a person who has been determined to have caused or knowingly allowed the maltreatment of a child. Most States define perpetrators of child abuse and neglect as parents and other caregivers (such as relatives, babysitters, and foster parents) who have harmed a child in their care. It is important to note that States define the term "caregiver" differently. Harm caused to a child by others (such as acquaintances or strangers) may not be considered child abuse but rather may be considered a criminal matter.
Find research on characteristics of perpetrators, including those who commit certain types of abuse or neglect.
- Perpetrators of physical abuse
- Perpetrators of sexual abuse
- Perpetrators of Munchausen syndrome by proxy
Children’s Protective Services Clermont County Ohio
Provides common characteristics of adults who abuse children, such as poor self-concept, immaturity, history of substance abuse, and more. The page also includes child physical and behavioral indicators of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment, and neglect.
Child Abuse and Neglect: Risk and Protective Factors
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Provides risk and protective factors for maltreatment, including individual, family, and community risk factors for perpetration.
Child Maltreatment Facts at a Glance (PDF - 79 KB)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014)
Provides up-to-date data and statistics on child maltreatment, including information on the characteristics of perpetrators.
A Review on The Perpetrators of Child Abuse
Review of Social Sciences, 1(3)
Reviews articles and research papers on the issues of child abuse and perpetrations to determine factors of vulnerability, such as age, family climate, personality, and victim to victimizer cycle. The report concludes with recommendation for shift in focus in studies, orientations, and interventions.
Who Are the Perpetrators of Child Abuse?
Identifies perpetrators of child abuse based upon statistics and studies. The pages states that child abuse occurs across the spectrum of socioeconomic conditions and within all types of families.