Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An Unintended Economic Stimulus: Child Abuse

Ulster County, New York is just across the Hudson River.  It's perhaps best known for the Catskills, the Shawangunk Ridge (one of the East Coast's rock climbing meccas), Woodstock and the Mohonk Mountain House.   

It's a relatively prosperous slice of New York.  The Coen brothers live there, and Robert DeNiro keeps his barn collection in the Town of Gardiner..

Last night, County officials hosted a meeting on domestic violence.  It gives insight into the impact that economic stresses can have on the welfare of children:
Domestic violence cases on the rise in Ulster
KINGSTON – The recession may lead to more than just financial problems, it could lead to an increase in domestic violence. That realization came from Ulster County Social Services Commissioner Roberto Rodriguez.

An increase in reported cases of domestic violence is of concern to officials in Ulster County and how to educate and inspire a more progressive attitude toward the violence was the topic of a forum held Tuesday night in Kingston.

Investigator James McCoy of the New York State Police Ulster County Family Violence Unit spoke of a large increase in the number of domestic incident reports from 2007 to 2008. According to McCoy, based on the amount of reports so far this year, the increase in those reports from 2008 to 2009 will far surpass that of previous years.
A similar report from Nassau County
Nassau attributes child abuse spike partly to recession --
Feb 15, 2009 ... Officials report record number of child abuse cases ... 1 reason," said Cynthia Scott, executive director of the Nassau Coalition Against Child Abuse and ... national data analysis at the Child Welfare League of America.,0,3773523.story
And it's not just here.  A columnist in the Binghamton Press notes...
Many people wonder, too, what's behind the recent uptick in reports of child abuse and neglect across New York. Newsday reports that, statewide, abuse and neglect reports were up 7 percent in 2008 to more than 160,000. Some officials on Long Island, which also saw a record number of reports last year, told Newsday they're convinced the recession is the leading cause.

In the Netherlands, too, job losses and money problems are being blamed for an increase in child abuse. Researchers there say stressed-out parents are venting their anger on their children. There have been similar reports in Japan.
Resources: NY1 Report (11/24/08)

Prevent Child Abuse America (dealing with 2001-02 recession, but still relevant)

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