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Journal Digest
Serious Child-Abuse Incidents May Be Increasing
Psychiatric News
Volume 47 Number 22 page 17d-28

The national incidence of child abuse in general may be on the decline, but a recent study suggests serious child-abuse incidents are rising. Although U.S. Child Protective Services data showed a 55 percent decrease in the national incidence of substantiated physical abuse from 1992 to 2009, no study has tracked the occurrence of serious injuries due to physical abuse, said John Leventhal, M.D., and Julie Gaither, R.N., M.P.H., of Yale School of Medicine.

The pair recently examined the Kids’ Inpatient Database, a sample of discharges from U.S. hospitals prepared every three years from 1997 to 2009 that includes ICD-9-CM diagnoses and external cause of injury codes. They found that cases of serious physical abuse of children younger than age 18 increased 4.9 percent during that time period. The incidence for children younger than age 1 increased by 10.9 percent. inline-graphic-1.gif

Leventhal J and Gaither J. “Incidence of Serious Injuries Due to Physical Abuse in the United States: 1997 to 2009.” Pediatrics. October 1 [Epub ahead of print]. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/09/26/peds.2012-0922

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