Thursday, July 7, 2011

Will the Casey Anthony Case Bring Awareness to Other Child Abuse Cases?

also: Risk Factors Predict Repeat Abuse

Child abuse expert: Casey Anthony cases don't help
by Sandra Haros/KTAR July 6th, 2011

Child abuse in America is at an all-time high and cases like the Casey Anthony trial in Florida don't really help curb the problem, according to Robert Bell with Childhelp.
"Five children die each day and that should alarm us as a society," said Bell. "Unfortunately, I don't believe most people actually know that."

He said the numbers on child abuse are shocking -- that a new report is filed every 10 seconds.
"In Arizona, in 2009, we had 33,000 reports to Child Protective Services involving more than 45,000 children."
Of those, Bell said 64 children died at the hands of abusers....

Bell said cases like the Anthony trial do little to stop abuse, but instead sensationalize it.
"We can become desensitized as a country or, a better way to put it is we can be lulled into thinking that the problem isn't as pervasive as it actually is," he said.

Will the Casey Anthony Case Bring Awareness to Other Child Abuse Cases?
The words "not guilty" did not sit well with many people. Those who have been following the Casey Anthony trial from the beginning don’t believe she should have gotten off so easily. Jul 5, 2011 Deanna Bettineschi

....Child abuse cases that end in death are the ones that usually get the most attention...but there are plenty of local cases that happen in the wiregrass that don’t get noticed at all.

"These high profile cases do bring a lot of media attention to cases however, last year in Dothan, Houston...Henry County, in the wiregrass area we had three hundred and sixty eight cases of child sexual abuse. “says Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Sherryl Walker.

Many of these children suffer in silence, and don’t have anybody to speak up for them.

"There’s no winners...even when children are abused and they live, they have to live with the scars forever" says Walker.

Walker hopes the Casey Anthony case will bring public awareness to child abuse problems across the nation

Risk Factors Predict Repeat Abuse By Nancy Walsh, Staff Writer, MedPage Today July 05, 2011

When child abuse has been substantiated, a number of risk factors can predict the likelihood that abuse will be repeated if the child is returned to the care of the abuser, according to a prospective cohort study.

For instance, when the parents or caregivers were in their teens or twenties, were survivors of abuse, and had never taken parenting classes -- the child faced a 54% risk of being harmed again, wrote Suzanne R. Dakil, MD, and colleagues from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. But the risk was higher even higher -- 60% -- for children younger than 8.5 years who were returned to parents that had taken parenting class, the researchers reported online in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine....

A total of 44% of children in the sample were reported to child welfare authorities again after the index report. Bivariate analysis determined that these repeated reports were more likely when the child was between 3 years and 10 years of age and had behavior disturbances or developmental delays.

A new report also was more likely if caregivers were younger, had themselves been abused, and were limited in their employment because of health or emotional problems. A family factor associated with repeated report was income below $20,000, while active domestic violence was less likely. The finding of lower risk in the presence of domestic violence may be explained by the possibility that children in such homes are more likely to be removed or to be provided with closer support and monitoring, according to the researchers....

Among the 1,252 substantiated index cases, 38% involved a second report. However, this rose to 86% when the caregiver had a history of abuse and was younger than 33.5 years, the child was younger than 12.5 years but showed no behavioral difficulties, and when five or more children were present in the home. A cluster of characteristics associated with low incidence of repeated abuse -- 26% -- was a substantiated index report, older age of the caregiver, no parenting classes, and non-African-American race....

The finding that risk was still high in cases where there had been parenting classes suggests that classes may not be adequate for high-risk families, and additional support or removal might be considered, they noted. And the increased risk seen with low income and behavior difficulties signals a need for assistance in basics such as housing, employment, medical care, and behavioral services. Primary source: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine - Source

Dakil S, et al "Recidivism in the child protection system: identifying children at greatest risk of reabuse among those remaining" Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2011; DOI:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.129.

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