A study of 39,000 children treated at pediatric trauma centers has found that child abuse cases tripled during the early lockdowns of 2020. Many experts had speculated that abuse might increase during that time, and this is the first large-scale study to look at the question. In evaluating the benefits and costs of the lockdowns during the pandemic, we need to add another data point about the price that our children paid for that response.
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Child Abuse Likely Increased During the Pandemic
For the study, researchers analyzed data on more than 39,000 children treated at nine pediatric trauma centers between March and September of last year. Of these, 2,064 were victims of suspected child abuse. Among children aged 5 and older, the number of child abuse victims tripled to 103, up from an average of 36 during a similar period before the pandemic, the study found.