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PolitiFact Supports Grothman's Child Abuse Statistic

Sen. Glenn Grothman, in support of his bill calling "nonmarital parenthood" a contributing factor to child abuse, cites a study showing kids living with a parent and parent's partner are "20 times" more likely to be sexually abused.

State Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) found himself in the national spotlight when he proposed a bill that considers nonmarital parenthood a contributing factor to child abuse in early March.

Grothman cited a number of statistics in his claims that would require the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.

Among them was a study showing that kids living with a biological parent and the parent's partner are "20 times" more likely to be sexually abused.

According to PolitiFact Wisconsin, Grothman was citing a chart from that study that shows "that children living with two married biological parents were sexually abused at a rate of 0.5 per 1,000 children, while the rate for children living with a single parent with a partner in the home was 9.9 per 1,000 children."

Those numbers show that the sexual abuse rate for children in a single-parent home with a partner living in the home are 19.8 times higher than the rate among children living with married, biological parents, PolitiFact explains. While critics agree Grothman accurately depicted the statistic, they say other factors should be considered, such as poverty and mental illness.

Grothman is one of the 16 members on the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board. Eight members are governor-appointed, while the "rest represent the governor or other state agencies," according to LaCrosseTribune.com. "Grothman said he's been finding little support for his views, so he decided to go over the board's head to the Legislature."

Grothman presented Senate Bill 507 to the Senate Committee on Public Health, Human Services and Revenue public hearing in early March, according to the Huffington Post.

You can read more about his stance in a newsletter he published regarding his belief that the breakdown of the family is America's biggest problem.

Don Niederfrank March 28, 2012 at 07:51 PM
This may be a very misleading statistic. It needs to be corrected for income, i.e. if non-married partners are 20 times more likely to be living in poverty, then poverty needs to be examined as a contributing factor. Would it be difficult to find statistics examining the degree to which children living with married parents are more likely to be sexual abused than children in the same situation but not in poverty? My guess is this would not discount the danger of a non-married partner in the house but may well mitigate the "20 times more likely" language. The other piece that is obscured--and I believe intentionally so given what Sen. G has written in his newsletters/web site--is single parents without the presence of a partner.
Lyle Ruble March 29, 2012 at 02:15 AM
When this came out I pointed out that this is a correlation study and does not determine causality. There is a much closer connection to child abuse and neglect based on poverty. Single parent families make up the bulk of the impoverished families in America. Senator Grothman is on a campaign about single parents and out of wedlock births. His going around the board he sits on is a clear abuse of his legislative position and he should be held accountable.
Keith Schmitz March 29, 2012 at 11:38 AM
The point is what does he plan to do about it? Family support? Job training for single parents? Single parents have problems? So? All parents have problems in this economy. If Grothman wants to help, how about creating an environment that promotes job creation. Wasting legislative time on projects like this is not solving the problem, only grandstanding for Grothman.
Patricia Layton March 29, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Take a look at teen Moms...lumping people into a category is WRONG.
Dennis Allen March 29, 2012 at 05:36 PM
What sane person would believe anything Politifact prints anyway ?

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