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The incidence and characteristics of inpatient child protection concern cases during the COVID-19 lockdown
Cogent Medicine ; 8, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1617061
ABSTRACT

Background:

Known risk factors for child maltreatment, including parental unemployment and domestic violence (1, 2), were compounded by social isolation from school closures and restriction of home visitors during the COVID-19 lockdown. Data on the incidence of child maltreatment during the pandemic is limited.

Aim:

Our study aimed to compare the incidence of and characterize the types of child protection concerns among inpatients during the 2020 lockdown versus the same period in 2019.

Methods:

We carried out a retrospective chart review of inpatients at Children's Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin and CHI at Tallaght assessed for child protection concerns during the lockdown from March 13 to August 31, 2020, and the same timeframe in 2019.

Results:

Fewer patients with child protection concern were admitted in 2020 (n=86) compared to 2019 (n=163). Total admissions were also less in 2020 (n=4609) compared to 2019 (n=7728). Patients assessed for child protection concerns accounted for a smaller percentage of inpatients in 2020 (1.8% versus 2.1% in 2019 (p=0.35)). In 2020, there was a greater percentage of physical (52.3% versus 11% in 2019 (p<.001)) and emotional (6.9% versus 1.2% in 2019 (p=0.014)) abuse concern cases. There was also a greater percentage of neglect and sexual abuse concern cases and a lower percentage of welfare concern cases in 2020, but these differences were not statistically significant. The cases in 2020 were more complex, with 48.8% involving more than one concern type per case versus 13.4% in 2019 (p<.001). Child protection concerns increased steadily during the lockdown, peaking in July. In 2020, there were more unwitnessed injuries (34.8% versus 17.7% in 2019 (p=.002)) and parental use of physical discipline (6.9% versus 0.6% in 2019 (p=.003)). No statistically significant differences in delayed presentation and domestic violence were observed.

Conclusions:

While fewer inpatients were assessed for child protection concerns during the 2020 lockdown versus 2019, the 2020 cases were more complex. An increase in physical and emotional abuse concerns, unwitnessed injuries and physical disciplining highlights child protection issues specific to the pandemic.
Keywords

Full text: Available Collection: Databases of international organizations Database: EMBASE Document Type: Article Type of study: Incidence study / Risk factors Language: English Journal: Cogent Medicine Clinical aspect: Etiology Year: 2021

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Full text: Available Collection: Databases of international organizations Database: EMBASE Document Type: Article Type of study: Incidence study / Risk factors Language: English Journal: Cogent Medicine Clinical aspect: Etiology Year: 2021
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