Photo: iStockPhoto As police in Kansas City, Missouri, continue to look for missing 10-month old girl Lisa Irwin, detectives know where to begin their list of suspects: the toddler's parents.
One reason? According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, "the danger to children is greater from someone they or their family knows than from a stranger."
And it happens all the time.
According to figures released by UNICEF, over the past decade more than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members. That is nearly four times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and means that America has the worst record of child abuse in the industrialized world.
Twenty-seven children under the age of 15 die from physical abuse or neglect every week in America. According to UNICEF, the United States has 2.4 annual deaths per 100,000 children, compared to 1.4 for France; 1 in Japan, and 0.9 in the United Kingdom.
According to Michael Petit, president of the advocacy group Every Child Matters, part of the reason for the striking disparity is that many risk factors associated with abuse and neglect (including teen pregnancy, violent crime, poverty and imprisonment) are generally much higher in America.