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Increasing medical burden of child abuse.
  1. A Sharma,
  2. R Sunderland
  1. Children's Programme, Springfields, Birmingham.

    Abstract

    During the decade January 1976 to December 1985, as a result of increased public awareness, the numbers of reported (but not proved) cases of abuse to children living in South Birmingham increased thirty-fold; the incidence of detected and proved cases of abuse increased fourfold. The increase was principally due to bruises, scalds, and neglect. The numbers of serious fractures and brain injuries did not increase. The first case of sexual abuse was reported in 1981 and this was followed by a subsequent rise in the detection rate. The combination of increased reporting, increased incidence of proved abuse, and the necessity for increased supervision of families and intervention has created a serious burden on the child health services that may necessitate a reduction in services to other children. Alternative ways of tackling the problems of child abuse may have to be introduced, but they may have unwelcome consequences.

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