Violence

November 2011

FocusViolence

Nonaccidental injury in childhood

Volume 40, No.11, November 2011 Pages 858-861

Anne Smith

Background

Nonaccidental injury is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity, especially in infants and young children.

Objective/s

This article focuses on physical injuries that are commonly observed when children have been physically harmed as a result of abuse and neglect.

Discussion

In 2009–2010 statutory child protection agencies in Australia received 187 314 notifications regarding suspected child abuse and neglect, of which 31 295 were substantiated. Substantiated child abuse and neglect occurred for 6.1 per 1000 Australian children. The good news is that these data represent a 10% reduction in the number of notifications and a 4% reduction in the number of substantiated reports compared to 2008–2009 data. Children are vulnerable and child abuse is common. It is therefore important for all general practitioners to be skilled in recognising and responding to child abuse and neglect.

Child abuse is common. In 2009–2010 substantiated child abuse and neglect occurred for 6.1 per 1000 Australian children.1 Young children are particularly vulnerable to injury when a caregiver physically restrains, disciplines or assaults them. It is therefore important for all general practitioners to be skilled in recognising and responding to the physical signs of child abuse and neglect.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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