First up in the news this week is a rather alarming report from a Yale University study. According to the article, 1 in 8 U.S. children will be subjected to some form of maltreatment by adulthood. This estimate is larger than the current reported percentages in the country.
Abuse Estimates May Be Low-balling Numbers
Sociologist Christopher Wildeman reported on this study to Reuters Health. The concern is that even this estimate based on confirmed cases might be low-balling the numbers of children at risk and underlines the need for caregivers of all kinds, including nurses, to be more vigilant and make sure we are assessing our patients for potential risk for abuse.
The study looked at data on 5.7 million U.S. kids with reports confirming that they have be mistreated in some way between 2004 and 2011. Based on these rates, this means that 12.5% of children, 1 out of every 8 kids, will experience maltreatment by age 18. For some minorities, this means that they are as likely to be mistreated as graduate from college.
Ask About Safety and Security in Assessment
We can work on this problem by working questions surrounding safety and security of young patients into our assessments. Remember that in almost every State, we aren’t just ethically responsible to report suspected child abuse and neglect, we are required to do so!
Take this responsibility seriously and make an effort to ascertain with our young patients if they are safe in their homes and communities. According to CDC data, most child victims are maltreated by a parent, accounting for more than 80% of the cases reported. This is followed by other relatives and unmarried partners of parents. Be aware and keep your eyes open to what is often right in front of you!
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Clinical Scene Investigator CSI Leadership Program for Nurses and Episode 298.