Glenn Sacks Really Thinks He is Hot Shit Right Now In "Refuting" the Killer Father Statistics

In Glenn Sacks' latest drivel, he tries to slam a recent article about fathers being the main severe abusers and killers of children. As usual, Sacks seemingly carefully dissects the article by pulling apart the statistics and citing other reports. Upon first glance, it would appear that he indeed is presenting a more balanced viewpoint amongst skewed data. And Sacks' simple-minded followers won't give it a second thought. They never do. They will chime with their leader.

But check this out--you see, this same crowd will argue that women "win" custody battles at least 85% of the time (even if there was no battle for custody, even if the father wasn't present, even if the father agreed to the arrangement), leaving a mere 15% of fathers with custody of their children. And so fathers, in general, have much less contact with their children--in intact and "broken" households.

Keeping this in mind, let me let Liz take this home:

(emphasis mine)


Male versus Female: who is more likely to perpetrate child abuse
(When doing the math, adjust the figures as your actual study shows them.)

Do you believe that women are "more likely" than men to abuse children? That's incorrect. According to the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect there are more incidents of abuse of children (including both physical abuse and neglect) perpetrated by women than by men. But that does not tell you the "likelihood" that you are looking for, which is the percent of women caregivers who commit child abuse versus the percent of men caregivers who commit child abuse. More women than men care for children, and more children are cared for by women than are cared for by men. So if the "statistic" you are looking for is not raw numbers of incidents (which merely would be the "likelihood" that any given incident of abuse has been perpetrated by a man or a woman), and if you came to this page because what you really want to know is whether women or men are more likely to be dangerous when they are caring for children, whether it is women or men who are "more likely" to abuse children, then you need to do some math. The raw numbers of incidents by themselves don't tell you this. So let's do the math:

Assume that at any given time, 90% of all children who are in the care of one caregiver are in the actual (not "constructive") physical care of a woman (parent, grandparent, teacher, babysitter, day care provider, nurse, etc.), and that 10% are in the care of a man. (This is a conservative estimate.)

Assume that when a couple together are caring for children (e.g. married parents, grandparents, or a parent and stepparent), if the man perpetrates abuse it's extremely unlikely that the woman also will not be charged with either accomplice physical abuse or failure to protect (neglect), so these statistics are a "wash" and we are not considering them. (In reality, it's next to never that men are charged for abuse perpetrated by a woman when there is a couple caring for a child, Rusty Yates case in point, but this anomaly favors men and artificially increases the relative portion of total abuse reported as being perpetrated by women, so we will err in that direction. We also are ignoring "gang" abuse and other kinds of individual incidents of reported abuse involving two or more non-coupled adults against children, which are, at any rate, relatively rare.)

Note that each counted incident of reported abuse is per occurrence per child, and not per perpetrator. (So that, e.g. one woman caring for 4 kids who didn't send them to school or didn't take them to the dentist when she should have in the opinion of some DCF worker is responsible for four reported counts of neglect-type abuse "perpetrated by a woman," whereas one man's rape of one child would be one count of abuse in the reported statistics.)

Assume that per caregiver, when they do care for children, women on average care for 2 children while men care for 1 child. (Women are much more likely than men are to care for groups of children rather than one child, and even when men do care for more than one child at a time, women are much more likely to care for large groups, both in a parental capacity in families in which there are more children as well as third party caregiving.)

Assume that for every 80 women who routinely directly care for children alone and spend significant time with them, there are 20 men who directly care for children alone and spend significant time with them. Thus, in the population of all persons who routinely care for children on their own, of every 100 persons, 80 are women and 20 are men, or put another way, there are 4 women caregivers for each 1 man caregiver. (Do not confuse this statistical base with the 90% children figure, above, which reflects individual women caring for more than one child at a time. If you are surprised at this 80-20 figure, and assumed it should be closer to 50-50, thinking of "parents," remember that children in the active care of a couple together are being statistically eliminated as a wash -- a simplification that in these calculations will err in favor of men -- and also don't forget the vast numbers of unwed and divorced mothers who care for children without male assistance, the stepmothers who care for children while fathers are away or at work, and the sex of third party caregivers.)

Assume (without regard to kind of abuse, and without correcting for qualitative differences by removing or differentiating add-on and minor neglect charges from affirmative acts of physical abuse), that counting reported incidents of abuse shows that 70% of all incidents of abuse were committed by women and 30% were committed by men. (This is grossly skewed to err in favor of men, see below.)

Set up a ratio to compare men- versus women-perpetrated abuse. Thus:

Based on the foregoing, women abusers occur at a comparative rate of 70/80 in the population where the numerator is percent of incidents of abuse, and the denominator is total woman population caring for children; and men abusers occur at a comparative rate of 30/20 in the population where the numerator is percent of incidents of abuse, and the denominator is total man population caring for children, or, in order to more easily compare this ratio with the woman abuser ratio, making the denominators equal, 120/80.

The total abuse would be 120 + 70, or 190. Therefore, in any given population of child caregivers, adjusted to reflect greater likelihood of women being the caregiver, men represent 120/190 of total incidents of abuse perpetrated and women represent 70/190 of that total. The comparative likelihood that a man is the abuser then is represented as .63, and that a woman is the abuser as .36.

In other words, using these conservative figures, and without yet correcting for the fact that for each woman caregiver there are more children and without recognizing different kinds of abuse, in the population of all caregivers, men are nearly twice as likely to abuse children as are women.

Now adjust for actual numbers of perpetrators.

The incidents of abuse in women's 70/80 above ratio actually represent only 35 individual women caregivers (because each woman is caring for an average 2 children.) The incidents of abuse in men's 30/20 ratio above represent 30 man caregivers (because, above, they have an average of 1 child to care for compared with 2 children cared for by a women.) Because we are looking to compare perpetrator information gleaned from statistics using incident reports for each child, a different statistical population base, we need to adjust for this.

Based on the foregoing, then, individual women perpetrators actually will be represented by a ratio of 35/80 and men perpetrators will occur with a comparable frequency of 30/20, or, adjusting the denominators so that we can better compare the ratios for women and men, we have a ratio of 120/80 for men compared with 35/80 for women. Individual men then represent 120/155 of total individual abusers, and women are 35/155 of total individual abusers.

Thus, the adjusted likelihood that a man is an abuser is .77, and that a woman is an abuser is .23. In other words, the "twice as likely" calculation was premature; individual men caregivers are 2.34 times more likely (or 3.34 times as likely) as a woman is to be an abuser.

Compare the above two calculations with the National Clearinghouse statistics that "[a]mong children in single-parent households, those living with only their fathers were approximately one and two-thirds times more likely to be physically abused than those living with only their mothers."

Now adjust again to take into account time and opportunity.

While we cannot say that if an abuser cares for a child for more time, it's more likely that abuse will be perpetrated by that abuser, it does seem reasonable to suppose that it has some effect. The assumed fact, above, is that any given time 90% of children who are in the care of one caregiver are in the care of a woman, or stated another way, women are performing 90% of child care once children in the care of couples are eliminated from consideration (the statistical wash.) If there is a direct correlation, and if men perpetrate 30% of child abuse, then men perpetrate abuse 30/10 of the time, and women perpetrate abuse 70/90. Adjusting the denominators, per time men are caring for children, we get a whopping 270/90 for men. That makes men 3.86 times as likely as women to perpetrate abuse given the same amount of time in caregiving. If we now correct this figure to adjust for actual numbers of individual caregivers this represents, remembering that there are, mathematically, 4 women caregivers (above) for every 1 man caregiver, we also properly should adjust the time/opportunity ratios to account for that.

So per individual, men abusers are represented by a risk ratio of 1080/90 compared with women who are 70/90.

So what we have calculated thus far is that, IF, according to incident reports, 70% of all child abuse is committed by women, then adjusting for the different statistical populations and applying our stated assumptions, men are 12 times as likely as women to perpetrate abuse against children, or put another way, they are 1100% more dangerous to children than are women.

However, this calculation still errs on the side of being too conservative. We haven't corrected for kind of abuse, or seriousness of outcomes.

In addition, the raw figures actually don't show that 70% of all incidents of child abuse are perpetrated by women -- even when including reported "abuse" such as accomplice abuse, failure to protect, and minor neglect such as leaving a child unattended where no harm has occurred. They don't show that.

The statistics you will see from, e.g. the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect show that child abuse perpetrated by women represents (depending on report) between 50-70% of total abuse, usually closer to 50%. And if we remove from those reports, those minor neglect charges without notable outcomes and charges such as "failure to protect" that women -- and notably battered women -- but very few men tend to be charged with, we probably come down to something closer to 50-50, if it is even that much, if indeed women are the perpetrators of even 50% of total numbers of real abuse and neglect. Which means that in reality, men are not "12 times as likely as women to perpetrate child abuse" but some multiplier significantly greater even than that. In other words:

Children are at astronomically greater risk of physical abuse in the care of a man than in the care of a woman.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Liz is a member of the the feminazi clan that is trying to achieve world domination through the emasculation of men and pollution of the family court system.

So, we'll try this one is from Silverside:
The Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (also known as NIS-3), put out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is getting up there in years. Although it's offficially a teenager as of this month--it was first published in September 1996--NIS-4 has yet to appear as it is (apparently) still a work in progress.

According to NIS-3's less-than-modest Forward, "The NIS is the single most comprehensive source of information about the currrent incidence of child abuse and neglect in the United States. The NIS-3 findings are based on a nationally representative sample of over 5,600 professionals in 842 agencies serving 42 counties."

While there may be more be more recent research on child abuse and neglect, it's necessarily more limited in geography and scope compared to NIS-3. So NIS-3 is still a major player by sheer heft alone.

I often see NIS-3 quoted by various mother advocates and fathers rights people, though usually the data is only pulled from NIS-3's rather confusing and rambling executive summary which is readily available at the HHS website. More than once I've been tangled up in the convoluted syntax, and I see other people get lost in it too. The entire study, we are grimly told, is not available on-line and must be ordered through the mail.

Well, gentle readers, I must make a confession. As I am a secret wonk at heart, I ordered the damn thing and got it jammed (and I mean jammed) in my mailbox yesterday.

So what does it say? Oh, NIS-3 is just packed with grisly data on mean mommies and dastardly dads. Everybody has picked over the raw numerical data on child abuse perpetrators and their gender and relationship to the child and what it all presumably means when moms are the majority of caretakers (or assumed caretakers) in both married couple and single-parent households.

Frankly, it's not terribly clear what it all means, and that's why everybody quotes it (or distorts it) for their own purposes.

Interestingly enough, when you turn to the section on family characteristics, the NIS-3 starts to make sense, though most of that data is not in the executive summary. That's because they take all the raw numerical data and crunch it in a way that's meaningful, which is incidence rates per 1,000 children.

Okay, before the less mathematically gifted among us have conniption fits, this is not really that fancy or complicated. This kind of data adjustment is done all the time. To know that Green City had 147 deaths from lung cancer last year, while Orange City had 361 doesn't tell us anything useful about cancer concentrations or about which City has relatively sicker or healthier citizens. Unless we know the population of those cities and how many people die per year, and express those numbers in terms of lung cancer deaths per 100,00o or something similar, we can't make any valid comparisons. So if I can tell you that Orange City had 50 lung cancer deaths per 100,000 while Green City had 100, we're now onto something interesting for further research.

So let's revisit the old question of abusive fathers versus abusive mothers with this in mind.

Fathers rights people often remind us that married couple families do better than single-parent households in nearly every measure of child abuse and neglect, which on the face of it is true. I suppose the public policy implication is keep everybody married with a man in the house (how we will do this is never made entirely clear--outlaw divorce?), and child abuse will lessen.

This is basically a variation of the BMW fallacy, or confusing correlation with causation. Here's how it goes. BMW owners are nearly uniformly well-to-do successful professionals with six figure incomes who own their own homes. So--if somebody who's low-income manages to buy a BMW, will they be financially successful?

No, they will be broke. Saddled with more car than they can afford and with more financial troubles than ever.

So it is with marriage. People who are happily married tend to stay married and tend not to have families plagued with abuse, drug or alcohol issues, mental health problems, and other stuff like that. Married people who do have these problems in their relationships will tend to split up over time and form single parent households.

So the question is not comparing single parents with married households, but comparing the relative safety of father-headed households and mother-headed households, even though the numbers of these households are not the same. (And not because of the family courts. Most mother-headed families are that way by default, not by design or legal proceedings.) Hence, we convert the child abuse data from each type of household type into incident rates per 1,000 children.

So what do we have then? Let's start by taking a peek at maltreatment (i.e. abuse and neglect) under what's called the "harm standard." Under the "harm standard," children were considered to be maltreated only if they had already experienced harm from abuse or neglect. (The other standard is the "endangerment standard," which is children who experience abuse or neglect that puts them at risk of harm, combined with kids who are alreadly harmed by abuse or neglect.)


Let's start with overall maltreatment (abuse and neglect combined).

Children living with their only their mothers experienced maltreatment under the Harm Standard at a rate of 26.1 per 1,000 children.

Children living with only their dads? 36.6 per 1,000.

As NIS-3 notes, "This rate is more than two and one-third times higher than that of children in two-parent families."

Oops. So much for the theory that keeping a dad--any dad--in the family somehow confers protection from that nasty abusive mommy.


What about abuse as such?

Children living with only their moms: 10.5 per 1,000.
Children living with only their dads: 17.7 per 1,000.

Here's what NIS-3 says about that: "Children in father-only families had more than twice the risk of abuse as defined by the harm standard compared to children living in both-parent families. Their risk was more than one and two-thirds that of children in mother-only families, a marginal difference in this maltreatment category. Thus, the pattern in connection with abuse essentially reflects the higher risk of children who live with only their fathers."


Physical abuse is a subcategory under abuse.

Children living with only their moms: 6.4 per 1,000 children.
Children living with only their dads: 10.5 per 1,000 children.

Here's what NIS-3 states: "When specific types of abuse under the Harm Standard are examined, it is apparent that the findings described in the previous paragraph stem from the disproportionate incidence of physical abuse among children in father-only households....An estimated 10.5 per 1,000 children living with only their fathers were harmed by physical abuse in 1993, which is more than two and two-thirds higher than the incidence rate of 3.9 per 1,000 for children living with both their parents. Children in mother-only families were not statistically different from those in both-parent households in their risk of physical abuse under the Harm Standard."


Let's turn to neglect now.

Children living with only their moms: 16.7 per 1,000 children.
Children living with only their dads: 21.9 per 1,000 children.


Emotional neglect is one of the subcategories under neglect. What do the numbers say now? Frankly, I figured moms would get nailed on something as nebulous as emotional neglect, but I was wrong.

Children living with only their moms: 3.4 per 1,000 children.
Children living with only their fathers: 8.8 per 1,000 children.


How about severity of injury? The data was said to be statisically unreliable for Fatalities, so let's turn to Serious Injuries.

Children living with only their moms: 10.0 per 1,000 children.
Children living with only their dads: 14.0 per 1,000.

And Moderate Injuries?

Children living with only their moms: 14.7 per 1,000 children.
Children living with only their dads: 20.5 per 1,000.

I'm not sure if there's enough data geeks among you to go into maltreatment under the "endangerment standard" (see definition above), but I will go into it briefly anyway. Suffice it to say that the pattern is very much the same, except with bigger numbers.


All maltreatment (abuse and neglect) for children living with only their moms: 50.1 per 1,000 children.
For children living with only their dads: 65.6 per 1,000.


All abuse for children living with only their moms: 18.1 per 1,000 children.
For children living only with their dads: 31.0 per 1,000.


Physical abuse for children living with only their moms: 9.8 per 1,000 children.
For children living with only their dads: 16.5 per 1,000.

As NIS-3 concludes, "Similar to the pattern described above in relation to Harm standard physical abuse, children who live with only their fathers are at a marginally higher risk of physical abuse than those who live with two parents. (The father-only household is associated with two and one-third times greater risk.)"

So there you have it straight from the NIS-3 mouth.

Not good enough? Perhaps Guterman and Lee can drive this in the ground:
Consideration of the role that fathers play in the risk for future physical abuse and neglect is long overdue. A growing body of evidence has pointed out that fathers, as well as father figures, are highly represented as perpetrators of physical child abuse, particularly in its most severe forms (e.g., Brewster et al., 1998; Krugman, 1985; Margolin, 1992). For example, Sinal et al.'s (2000) review of inflicted closed-head injury (shaken baby syndrome) cases in North Carolina reported that 44% were perpetrated by fathers and 20% were perpetrated by mothers' boyfriends, in contrast to 7% perpetrated by mothers. Similarly, a review of child-maltreatment-related fatalities in the state of Missouri reported that while 21% of identified perpetrators were biological mothers, 23% were biological fathers, and 44% were unrelated males in the household (Stiffman, Schnitzer, Adam, Kruse, & Ewigman, 2002). Given that fathers provide on the whole, substantially less direct child care than mothers (Margolin, 1992; Yeung, Sandberg, Davis-Kean, & Hofferth, 2001), these proportions of fathers and possible father surrogates as perpetrators of sever child abuse appear as rather startling.

You all should really investigate your leaders--the ones that spend their time sending all of you to investigate other things...You're totally getting played while he's playing Daddy and you're losing your children.