UNH: 1.4 Million Kids in U.S. Get Medical Help For Abuse
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center have found that an estimated 1.4 million children in the United States visit a doctor, emergency room or medical facility each year due to violence.
This includes assault, abuse, crime and other forms of violence.
While the majority of the victims are teenagers, nearly one-third are under the age of 10, according to a press release issued by UNH Media Relations.
"This flood of visits to medical authorities each year by young crime victims means that our medical professionals need to know more about how to help, not only treating the injuries, but how to counsel children and their families about how to stay safe and how to get appropriate help from schools, therapists, and child protection agencies," said David Finkelhor, director of the center and lead author of the study.
Previous estimates based on data obtained only from emergency rooms suggested there were 340,000 visits annually for violence related medical issues involving children. Finkelhor and his team used survey information from a representative sample of 8,503 children and youth from across the country as part of a series of nationwide studies in 2011 and 2014 to get their new numbers, according to the press release.
Most of these medical visits were to treat injuries, but some were to document harm and seek support for problems such as bullying and sibling victimization.
Researchers now believe that children are the most crime exposed segment of the population, experiencing serious assaults at twice the rate of adults.
"We need to build interpersonal safety into our education systems, our environments and prepare practitioners to provide resources on prevention and safety skills," Finkelhor said.
The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @KimberleyHaas.