The housing crisis may have worsened another serious problem: child abuse. As mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures loom, the rates of child abuse leading to hospitalization also increased, according to new research.
Between 2000 and 2009, the rate of child abuse requiring hospital admission increased by 3 percent a year for every 1 percent increase in the 90-day mortgage-delinquency rate. The rate of traumatic brain injury suspected to be caused by child abuse increased 5 percent a year for every 1 percent increase in the mortgage-delinquency rate, according to the study.
"On the community level, we need to recognize that losing a home is very stressful, and we need to let families know that it's OK to ask for help," said the study's lead author, Dr. Joanne Wood, assistant professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "We need to provide them links to resources where they can get help."
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, rates of child abuse declined dramatically, according to background information in the study. Some theorized that the decrease was likely due to a thriving economy. Recent research, however, has suggested that the rates of child abuse are rising.
Results of the study will be published in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics. The study was released online July 16.
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