Chronically ill kids subjected more to physical abuse

February 18th, 2011 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 18 (IANS) Children with chronic health conditions are 88 percent more likely to suffer physical abuse than healthy children, says new research. These kids 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, and found that nearly one in four 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, the journal Acta Paediatrica reports, citing an university release.

“Twelve percent of all the children who took part in the survey said they had been physically abused (ranging from severe shaking, ear boxing and hair pulling by an adult to being severely beaten with a hand or device), seven percent had witnessed intimate partner violence (a child seeing adults in their family hit each other) and three percent had experienced both,” says lead author Birgitta Svensson from the department of health and environmental sciences at the university.

“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.”

“It is clear from our study that children with chronic health conditions face an increased risk of child physical abuse,” says Svensson.

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