A study reveals that, during the first confinement, the hospitalizations of children for abuse increased by 50%. Research has focused on children from 0 to 5 years old, and has shown that mortality from such abuse is also on the rise.
An unprecedented increase in violence
From the first day of confinement, on March 16, Adrien Taquet, Secretary of State for Child Protection, expressed his fears about a possible increase in domestic violence, in particular against very young children. This week, as the first results of studies on the subject begin to be revealed, we can only bitterly note that these fears were founded. Indeed, the study, carried out by the Dijon University Hospital and the Paris-Saclay Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health at Inserm, the results of which were submitted to the American journal. Pediatrics and published, reveals that hospitalizations for child maltreatment of 0 to 5 years increased by 50% compared to previous years.
Catherine Quantin, head of the biostatistics and medical informatics department at Dijon University Hospital, led this investigation. With his team of researchers, they analyzed in particular hospital admissions concerning very young children aged 0 to 5, between March and April, and compared them to the same period in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The finding is clear: the number of children hospitalized for acts of physical violence has increased by 50% during the period, compared to previous years.
The difficulty of spotting this violence
“What we have observed confirms research showing that childcare in a crèche is protective, and that the more the childcare takes place at home, the greater the risk of mistreatment in the youngest”says Catherine Quantin. The fact that children no longer go to nursery or school during this period has resulted in them being left at the mercy of violent parents, without professionals who can spot and alert on possible cases of abuse.
For his part, the national telephone reception service for children at risk also reports an increase in calls over the period, an increase of 56.2% compared to 2019. Some scientists explain this increase by the stress of confinement, which influences the mental health of parents. However, this explanation alone cannot be used as an excuse for violence. Catherine Quantin fears that these figures are only “The submerged face of the iceberg”because violence may have gone unreported, and the numbers could actually be much larger.
For the second confinement, the children having been able to go to school and nursery, the figures will surely be different. But Nathalie Cougny, president of the association Abuse, I talk about it, fears all the same that the situation does not cause difficulties : “With the Covid-19, there will be other problems, linked to the wearing of a mask and the distancing which remains a factor of anxiety for children. In addition, parents will be more depressed, some will lose their jobs, etc. This anxiety-provoking climate thus risks causing difficulties at home. “
Here is a list of numbers to call if you are a witness or victim of violence:
- Hello childhood in danger: 119
- Domestic violence: 3919 or an SMS to 114
And if you are on the verge of parental burnout:
- Allo Parents baby: 0 800 00 3456
- Allô Parents Confinés from the Parents’ School: 0805 382 300
- Parenthood SOS: 0974 763 963