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Recurrent Child-Abuse Risk Factors Identified

Review of 16 studies cites four main factors that predict an abused child's risk of re-abuse

THURSDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Four main warning signs predict an abused child's likelihood of experiencing subsequent abuse, according to a study published online July 13 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Nick Hindley, M.D., of Warneford Hospital in Headington, Oxford, U.K., and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 16 studies.

The researchers identified four main factors that predicted future maltreatment: number of previous episodes of maltreatment; neglect; parental conflicts including domestic violence; and parental mental health disorders. They found that children who had endured a previous episode of maltreatment were about six times more likely to experience recurrent maltreatment compared to children who had not. The risk of recurrence was highest within 30 days of the index episode and appeared to level out after two years.

"This lends support to the use of multi-modal assessment approaches, and in turn implies a need for clinicians to use the factors identified as part of a structured approach to the management of risk of recurrence," the authors conclude. "The factors themselves may be identified by different professionals, thus emphasizing the need for inter-professional collaboration to improve the quality and process of assessment and management of risk."

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