Nationwide Children’s Hospital has become increasingly concerned about the recent growing number of suspected child abuse cases seen at the hospital and the severity of injuries sustained from suspected child abuse. Child abuse and neglect often occur in families under stress, in the middle of a crisis or at the “end of the rope.” Economic hardships and stress of the holiday season could be contributing factors to the recent rise of suspected child abuse cases. The stress that families endure during an economic downturn can increase the threat of child abuse, neglect and domestic violence. At Nationwide Children’s Hospital, there were more consultations for suspected abuse and neglect and the highest mortality rate of traumatic deaths in 2008, than in any year since compiling these data.
Rising Trend in Traumatic Injuries and Mortality from Child Abuse
Year NCH Consultations Deaths from Child Abuse
2008 183 11
2007 148 5
2006 156 5
Nationwide Children’s would like to urge the Central Ohio community to be mindful of the stress and coping abilities of families and friends. When people lose their job or face other economic hardships, stress can have an unintentional, devastating impact for children. If you know of families or friends experiencing stressors, look for ways to help – offer to take the children for a few hours; have people over for dinner or take prepared dishes to their home; make a phone call or stop by for a visit. If parents are experiencing stress they can call the Parent Resource Line, 614-224-CARE (2273), a resource of Prevent Child Abuse Ohio in the Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s. The Parent Resource Line is designed to connect families to resources and information.
If a child indicates that they are afraid to return home, call the appropriate Children’s Services agency (by county) or the local police immediately. If you need additional help determining what to do in the case of suspected abuse, call the Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s at 614-722-3278. In case of an emergency, dial 911.
NOTE TO EDITOR:
Yvette McGee Brown, president of the Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Philip Scribano, DO, medical director of the Center for Child and Family Advocacy and chief of the Division of Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s, are available for comment and interviews. Please note that the hospital will not provide patient family interviews specifically related to this topic at this time.
Mary Ellen Peacock/Pam Barber/Liz Sommer
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
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