Chronically ill kids ‘88pc more likely to suffer physical abuse’

February 18th, 2011 - 1:16 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 18 (ANI): A new study has found that children with chronic health conditions are 88 percent more likely to suffer physical abuse than healthy children.

They are also 154 percent more likely to suffer a combination of physical abuse and exposure to intimate partner violence than their healthy school friends.

Researchers from Karlstad University, Sweden, analysed 2,510 questionnaires completed anonymously by children aged 10, 12 and 15 from 44 schools.

Nearly 1 in 4 had at least one chronic health condition, including visual, hearing or speech problems, diabetes, mental illness, physical disabilities, allergies, weight issues, epilepsy or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

“Twelve per cent of all the children who took part in the survey said they had been physically abused, 7 percent had witnessed intimate partner violence and 3 percent had experienced both” said lead author Birgitta Svensson.

“But when we looked at children with chronic illness, the figures were significantly higher for physical abuse and for physical abuse combined with intimate partner violence,” the author said.

Child physical abuse ranged from severe shaking, ear boxing and hair pulling by an adult to being severely beaten with a hand or device.

While intimate partner violence was defined as a child seeing adults in their family hit each other.

“Further analysis showed that children with chronic health conditions faced an even higher risk of physical abuse when they were also born outside Sweden or lived in a low income family. The most vulnerable children were those that fell into all three categories,” Svensson said.

The research appeared in the March issue of Acta Paediatrica. (ANI)

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