Small Upswing in Child Abuse Despite Reports
By Crystal Phend, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today
October 01, 2012
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner
A national study found that serious injuries from child abuse appear to have risen modestly over the past decade or so, and suggested that downward trends in other studies of abuse may reflect reporting changes rather than real improvement.
Hospitalization for abuse-related injury rose 4.9% overall among children 18 and under over the 12-year span from 1997 through 2009, wrote John Leventhal, MD, and Julie Gaither, RN, MPH, MPhil, both of Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
Children were increasingly likely to die from these injuries before discharge as well, they reported in the November issue of Pediatrics.
However, “these results are in sharp contrast to data from child protective services,” they noted. A national reporting system from these agencies indicated a 55% decline in substantiated child abuse cases from 1992 through 2009.
A second more extensive report by the Congress-mandated National Incidence Studies suggested a 23% decline in physical abuse.
While called evidence of “positive changes in the provision of services to children and families, there have been concerns that some of this decrease may be due to changes in reporting of cases to child protective services agencies and changes in which cases get investigated by child protective services and which cases are actually substantiated as physical abuse,” Leventhal and Gaither wrote….
Abuse of smallest babies may have risen, study finds
By Maggie Fox, NBC News 9/30/12
A new look at child abuse reports suggests there may have been a small but worrying rise in injuries to babies over the past decade or so. While most research suggests child abuse is down overall, the report published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics shows infants are far from safe.
The study contradicts government data collected over the same time, and it shows that health officials need to take a better look at whether child abuse is getting better, worse or staying the same, experts said.
“I think it’s premature to make any conclusions about whether it is going up or down,” says Dr. James Anderst, chief of the section on child abuse and neglect at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo., who was not involved in the study. “Medical providers may be getting better at identifying abuse over time.”….
Child abuse is a serious problem in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 740,000 children and youth are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries resulting from violence every year.
“Child abuse, neglect or violence can actually affect the development of a child’s brain – impacting the child now and for years to come. Our Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study shows a connection between child maltreatment and some of the nation’s worst health problems, including depression and heart disease,” CDC child abuse expert Linda Degutis says in a blog on the agency’s website….