, Volume 169, Issue 2, pp 173-180
Date: 29 May 2009

Characteristics associated with maltreatment types in children referred to a hospital protection team

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this paper is to describe characteristics associated with maltreatment types in children referred to the child protection team at the University Children’s Hospital Zürich. Since 2003, the child protection team has registered data on each case in a standardized form.

Methods

To examine differences in gender, age, nationality, and socioeconomic status by type of maltreatment, regression analyses were conducted for the 1,484 cases that were referred from 2003 to 2006.

Results

The most common types of referred maltreatment were sexual (38%) and physical maltreatment (31%) with mean ages of 8.4 and 7 years, respectively. Compared to physical maltreatment, where gender distribution was equal, there was a higher risk for girls to become victims of sexual maltreatment. Younger children were at higher risk for neglect (mean age 5 years). Low socioeconomic status increased the risk for physical as compared to sexual maltreatment. However, whether the child was of Swiss or of foreign nationality was not associated with an increased risk for any type of maltreatment when controlling for socioeconomic status.

Conclusion

As this study is one of a few to analyze characteristics in child maltreatment referred to a hospital child protection team, further research is needed. To improve international comparability, thorough documentation of the cases is encouraged.