Finally in the news an alarming item that is drawing some conflict out of previous reports on child abuse. For the last 10 years or so, social services have being continually reporting that child abuse cases are on the decline. We have all been counting this a great public health win! However, Yale University went out and looked at the types of injuries and reports of injuries being sent in by emergency departments related to children and what they found was that the most serious forms of child abuse are actually on the rise. In some cases increasing nearly 10%.
Rising or Falling Child Abuse?
Which statistic is right? Is child abuse on the decline or worse, is child abuse rising? There are a couple of things that this report is looking at that may point to why there is a discrepancy. First the authors were looking only at severe forms of child abuse reported to emergency departments and hospitals. The study didn’t account for milder reports that never made it to the emergency room.
Second, maybe there’s a change in the way that social services are reporting child abuse. There’s a lot of different things that need to be looked at here. This conflicting study just tells us that we need to get some more data points before we can really understand what’s going on with child abuse.
EMS on Front Lines of Child Abuse
The reason I bring this up to you here on the MedicCast is that we are often on the front lines when child abuse occurs. We’re the ones that are dealing with that child with the greenstick fracture or the child with the head injury. All of these things that we see firsthand are important facts. We need to be good documentarians and good people at reporting on what we see on scene in the patient’s home. Reporting on the visible demeanor of the parents and things like that.
We need to make sure you are catching things on the scene and reporting them appropriately. Let’s keep our eyes open for signs of abuse when were out there on the road. Maybe we can nip this in the bud.
Find the links for this news item and the additional resources from the MedicCast episode tip of the week – Hydrocarbon Toxicity and Episode 304 of the MedicCast.