Child Abuse Rose During Recession, Research Says

Posted Monday, September 19, 2011 --- 8:20 a.m.

CHICAGO (AP) -- A new study suggests the recession took a toll on young children in terms of abuse.

The results are in a study of 422 abused children from mostly lower-income families, known to face greater risks for being abused, and the research involved just 74 counties in four states.

But lead author Dr. Rachel Berger of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh says the results confirm anecdotal reports of an increase from many pediatricians.

Though this abuse is still uncommon, the number of cases in the counties studied increased sharply, rising from about 9 cases per 100,000 children in pre-recession years, to almost 15 per 100,000 kids during the recession -- a 65 percent increase.

Children studied were younger than 5, and most were infants. Most suffered brain damage and 69 died, though the death rate didn't rise.

Unemployment rates in the counties rose during the five-year study published in Pediatrics.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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