Study: Child Abuse Increased During Recession

 September 19, 2011| Associated Press

Child Abuse On The Rise Due To Recession

CHICAGO - An increase in child abuse, mostly in infants, is linked with the recent recession in new research that raises fresh concerns about the impact of the nation's economic woes.

The results are in a study of 422 abused children from mostly lower-income families, known to face greater risks for being abused, and the research involved just 74 counties in four states. But lead author Dr. Rachel Berger of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh said the results confirm anecdotal reports from many pediatricians who've seen increasing numbers of shaken-baby cases and other forms of brain-injuring abuse.

Berger decided to study this type of injury after noticing an increase at her own hospital from late 2007 through June 2009. Her hospital averaged 30 cases per year during those recession years vs. 17 yearly before 2007.

Though this abuse is still uncommon, the number of cases in the counties studied increased sharply, rising from about 9 to almost 15 cases per 100,000 kids.

Children studied were younger than 5, and most were infants.

The study was released online today in Pediatrics.

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