I thought this article was extremely important to share.
A lot of individuals don’t know the warning signs. The best prevention is knowledge.
Originally taken from Time.com, the link can be accessed here: http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/23/child-abuse-why-its-so-hard-to-determine-whos-at-risk/
Child Abuse: Why It’s So Hard to Determine Who’s at Risk
Prevention is nearly always preferable to treatment when it comes to our health, and the stakes are even higher in cases of child abuse. But is it even possible to identify children at risk of abuse before it’s too late? That’s the question the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) addressed, in a comprehensive review of the available data on ways to detect maltreatment of children.
The task force is a government-funded group of independent experts that considers all the available evidence on a range of health topics, then grades studies on their reliability and validity before making recommendations based on the quality of those results. In recent years, its review of the benefits of mammography in preventing breast cancer and prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing in detecting prostate tumors caused controversy when it recommended that men skip regular PSA screening altogether, and that women wait until they reach 50 to begin routine mammogram testing — a full 10 years later than previous advice.
When it came to deciding whether pediatricians should implement wholesale interventions to prevent child abuse, the task force enlisted researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) to scrutinize a decade of existing literature.
In a sobering acknowledgement, the USPSTF believes that there is not much that can be done to detect cases of child maltreatment that aren’t glaringly obvious. There’s simply not enough research to make a case for advising physicians to take specific actions during well-child visits, for example, to help determine which children are at risk. In 2010, nearly 700,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect; 1,537 of them died.
“Obviously children who present with multiple bruises, you already have a high level of suspicion and will immediately launch into questions,” says Dr. David Grossman, a pediatrician who is one of the 16 members of the task force and a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle. “But for kids who don’t have symptoms, do we have methods to determine which children are at high risk and are currently being maltreated? We don’t, and that is disappointing. We would love to be able to add some tools to the toolbox for primary care clinicians.”