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June 21, 2013 10:51 AM America Has a Child Abuse Problem

By Bill Gardner

In 2006, the United States had the highest rate of child deaths due to negligence, maltreatment, or physical assault among 17 peer developed countries. The rate of child death due to maltreatment in the US was more than three times higher than the rate in Canada and more than four times the rate in France.

What’s even worse is that we are making no appreciable progress on reducing child abuse.

Karen Farst and her colleagues present data on the trend in hospitalizations resulting from child abuse in children aged 0-3 years.

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 12.27.44 PM

The top graph shows that the rates of hospitalizations for injuries have been stable. The bottom graph shows that the severity of the injuries (ISS = “Injury Severity Score”, a standard measure of trauma) has been increasing.

The graphs report the battering of thousands of infants and toddlers. Why isn’t this one of the scandals that animate our news culture? Is it just too shameful to talk about?

[Originally posted at The Incidental Economist]

Bill Gardner is a psychologist who studies the mental health service system for children. He is a professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia) and the Ohio State University. Bill blogs at Inequalities. Follow him on Twitter at @Bill_Gardner.
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