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Child Abuse Evaluations in Emergency Departments Drop During Pandemic, But Reason Unclear

Medical Xpress
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MedicalXpress.com

Pediatric Emergency Department (ED) encounters related to physical abuse decreased by 19 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a multicenter study published in the journal Pediatrics. While encounter rates with lower clinical severity dropped during the pandemic, encounter rates with higher clinical severity remained unchanged. This pattern raises concern for unrecognized harm, as opposed to true reductions in child abuse.

"Although our results show a decrease in ED encounters for physical abuse in children, especially for cases with lower clinical severity, it is unclear if this indicates an actual decrease in child abuse ...