Article

Changes in reports and incidence of child abuse following natural disasters

Department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development, Utah State University, Logan, Ohio, United States
Child Abuse & Neglect (Impact Factor: 2.47). 10/2000; 24(9):1151-62. DOI: 10.1016/S0145-2134(00)00176-9
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of this research was to investigate if there is a higher incidence of child abuse following major natural disasters.
Child abuse reports and substantiations were analyzed, by county, for 1 year before and after Hurricane Hugo, the Loma Prieta Earthquake. and Hurricane Andrew. Counties were included if damage was widespread, the county was part of a presidential disaster declaration, and if there was a stable data collection system in place.
Based on analyses of numbers, rates, and proportions, child abuse reports were disproportionately higher in the quarter and half year following two of the three disaster events (Hurricane Hugo and Loma Prieta Earthquake).
Most, but not all, of the evidence presented indicates that child abuse escalates after major disasters. Conceptual and methodological issues need to be resolved to more conclusively answer the question about whether or not child abuse increases in the wake of natural disasters. Replications of this research are needed based on more recent disaster events.

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Available from: Brent C Miller, Aug 28, 2015
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    • "The increase in non-inflicted TBI was attributed to increases in the risk associated with driving, environmental hazards, lodging displacement, and a hypothesized decrease in the quality of adult supervision (19, 20). In a similar study, child abuse was observed to increase following Hurricane Hugo and the Loma Prieta Earthquake but no changes were found in abuse patterns following Hurricane Andrew (21). "
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    • "Specifically, Keenan et al5 found that rates of intentional child traumatic brain injury increased in the 6 months post Hurricane Floyd. Similarly, Curtis et al.6 found that following 2 of 3 disasters studied, the incidence and confirmation of child abuse reports was higher 3 and 6 months following disaster. Children who experience maltreatment or abuse are at great risk for deleterious behavioral, academic, psychological and health problems.7–10 "
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    • "Noting feelings of frustration and powerlessness that accompany disasters, Curtis and colleagues (2000) studied child abuse rates in disaster-affected communities following several events. They found increased rates following some disasters but, due to a number of limitations, their study failed to establish a definitive connection between child abuse and disasters. "
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