Solving the problem begins with accurately measuring its occurrence
In a recent supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on approaches to measuring the incidence of the leading cause of fatal child maltreatment — inflicted brain injury — a staff member of the World Health Organization asserted that the major element missing from the global response to child maltreatment was “epidemiologically informed methods for monitoring its occurrence”.1 This view was reinforced when, in the year after its 2009 series on child maltreatment, The Lancet asked leading professionals in child health and welfare what question they most needed to be answered by the scientific published work. Their response was “Are trends in child maltreatment decreasing?”2
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- 2. Gilbert R, O'Donnell M, Gonzalez-Izquierdo A, et al. Child maltreatment: variation in trends and policies in six developed countries. Lancet 2012; 379: 758-772.
- 3. O'Donnell M, Scott D, Stanley F. Child abuse and neglect — is it time for a public health approach? Aust N Z J Public Health 2008; 32: 325-330.
- 4. Wood J. Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW. Sydney: New South Wales Government, 2008.
- 5. New South Wales Government. Keep Them Safe: a shared approach to child wellbeing. Sydney: NSW Government, 2009.
- 6. NSW Department of Family and Community Services. KiDS — Corporate Information Warehouse annual data 2004-2013. Sydney: 2014.
- 7. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Child protection Australia 2011-12. Canberra: AIHW, 2013. (AIHW Cat. No. CWS 43; Child Welfare Series No. 55.)
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- 9. Guthridge SL, Ryan P, Condon JR, et al. Trends in hospital admissions for conditions associated with child maltreatment, Northern Territory, 1999–2010. Med J Aust 2014; 201: 162-166. https://www.mja.com.au/doi/10.5694/mja14.00015. <MJA full text>
- 10. Arie S. WHO takes up the issue of child abuse. BMJ 2005; 331: 129.
- 11. National Centre for Classification in Health. The international statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision, Australian modification. Sydney: University of Sydney, 2008.
- 12. Schnitzer PG, Slusher P, van Tuinen M. Child maltreatment in Missouri: combining data for public health surveillance. Am J Prev Med 2004; 27: 379-384.
- 13. O'Donnell M, Nassar N, Leonard H, et al. Monitoring child abuse and neglect at a population level: patterns of hospital admissions for maltreatment and assault. Child Abuse Neglect 2010; 34: 823-832.
- 14. Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW). http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/caypapa1998442 (accessed Jul 2014).
- 15. Gonzalez-Isquierdo A, Ward A, O'Donnell M, et al. Cross-country comparison of victimisation-related injury admission in children and adolescents in England and Western Australia. BMC Health Serv Res 2013; 13: 260.
- 16. Runyan D. The challenges of assessing the incidence of inflicted traumatic brain injury: a world perspective. Am J Prev Med 2008; 34 (4 Suppl): S112-S115.
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