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Trends in hospital admissions for conditions associated with child maltreatment, Northern Territory, 1999-2010

Guthridge, Steven L., Ryan, Phillip, Condon, John R., Moss, John and Lynch, John (2014). Trends in hospital admissions for conditions associated with child maltreatment, Northern Territory, 1999-2010. Medical Journal of Australia,201(3):162-166.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 75039815xPUB345
NHMRC Grant No. 570102
Title Trends in hospital admissions for conditions associated with child maltreatment, Northern Territory, 1999-2010
Author Guthridge, Steven L.
Ryan, Phillip
Condon, John R.
Moss, John
Lynch, John
Journal Name Medical Journal of Australia
Publication Date 2014
Volume Number 201
Issue Number 3
ISSN 0025-729X   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84905647602
Start Page 162
End Page 166
Total Pages 5
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher Australasian Medical Publishing Company Pty. Ltd.
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Objective: To use hospital admissions data to investigate trends in maltreatment among Northern Territory Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children.

Design, setting and participants: A historical cohort study using diagnosis and external cause codes from hospital admissions among children aged 0–17 years.

Main outcome measures:
Annual rates of admission with either a definitive or indicative code for child maltreatment.

Results: From 1 January 1999 to 31 December 2010, the average annual rates of hospital admission of NT Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children with a definitive code of maltreatment were 8.8 (95% CI, 7.4–10.2) and 0.91 (95% CI, 0.59–1.22) per 10 000 children, respectively. There was no evidence for change over time in either population. The corresponding rates of admission with a code indicative of maltreatment were 28.4 (95% CI, 25.8–31.1) and 5.2 (95% CI, 4.4–6.0) per 10 000 children, with average annual increases of 3% (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.03; 95% CI, 1.00–1.07) and 4% (IRR, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.96–1.11). Physical abuse was the prominent type of maltreatment-related admission in both populations. There were increases in rates of admission for older Aboriginal children (13–17 years) and older non-Aboriginal boys. Most perpetrators in the assault of younger children were family members, while among older children most were not specified.

Conclusion: Our study shows the utility of hospital admissions for population surveillance of child maltreatment. The relatively stable rate of maltreatment-related hospital admissions among NT Aboriginal children shown here is in contrast to substantial increases reported from child protection data. The results also highlight the overlap between violence within families and in the wider community, particularly for older children, and lends support for population-level interventions to protect vulnerable children.

DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.5694/mja14.00015   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)


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