Next up in the news is a look at a study from Yale University and their School of Public health. This study was released in the journal Pediatrics and it’s alarming because it contradicts what we’ve been hearing from social services agencies about child abuse.
Child Abuse Increasing or Decreasing
Social services agencies have been reporting that child abuse has been on a steady decline over the last 10 to 12 years. But, according to this study from Yale University looking at emergency department reports on pediatric injuries, it appears that while overall child abuse may be going down, severe injuries related to child abuse is actually on the rise. It may have risen as much as nearly 10% and that’s that’s alarming.
There are several reasons why this might be and in this article points out some of the discrepancies in what might be causing them. One of the things that they point out says there may have been changes in how social services are reporting child abuse cases and recording child abuse cases.
Severe Child Abuse Reporting
Another reason for the discrepancy may be related to the fact that Yale University researchers were looking at severe child abuse, things that required hospitalization or at least an emergency room visit. The study looked at burns, fractures, and head injuries that could be related to child abuse and these are severe forms or severe signs of child abuse in these patients.
Whatever the case may be it does point out that there is a need for us to not accept any single data point. We’re taught this to be critical thinkers and yet we’ve been going with what social services have been telling us about child abuse. That may not be the case or if that is the case and we’re reducing child abuse but the children that are abused are more severely injured than before.
Nursing Research Opportunity
This research needs a follow-up. We need to get other data points and find other ways to research child abuse. Let’s see what the real data point is and try to narrow down what’s going on using multiple data points. I think this is a good lesson for us to not become complacent with our public health reporting and reading what’s going on in our communities. we need to be more focused on being critical thinkers.
I welcome you to check out the link to this article. I want to hear back from you and what you think is going on with this particular study. What have you been hearing from the social services departments in your area about child abuse? Send those e-mails into NursingShow@Gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you about this and all our other news items this week.
Find the links to this news item and all the additional resources from this episode of the Nursing Show here – Therapeutic Hypothermia Applied and Episode 213.