Sunday, December 7, 2008

Child Maltreatment

Last week Professor Ruth Gilbert, University College London Institute of Child Health, launched a series in The Lancet on child maltreatment. Professor Gilbert reports that child maltreatment remains a major public health and social welfare problem in high-income countries. Every year, 4–16% of children are physically abused and one in ten is neglected or psychologically abused. During childhood, between 5% and 10% of girls and up to 5% of boys are exposed to penetrative sexual abuse, and up to three times this number are exposed to any type of sexual abuse. However, official rates for child maltreatment are over ten times lower than these.

The authors conclude "Child maltreatment is common, and for many it is a chronic condition, with repeated and ongoing maltreatment merging into adverse outcomes throughout childhood and into adulthood. More attention needs to be given to neglected children. There is mounting evidence that the consequences of childhood neglect can be as damaging - or perhaps even more damaging - to a child than physical or sexual abuse."

For those who have three quarters of an hour to spare highlights from the press conference to launch the series are available here in mp3 format.


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