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WHY WE DO IT

Head injuries are the leading cause of death and disability in young children.  Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a subset of Abusive Head Trauma (AHT), the leading cause of fatal head injuries in children younger than two years. It is responsible for 53% of serious or fatal traumatic brain injury cases in the United States.   At least 1 of 4 infants who are violently shaken die from this form of child maltreatment.   Babies less than one-year-old are at greatest risk of injury from SBS.   SBS is unlikely to be an isolated event.  Evidence of previous abuse, cranial injuries (e.g., old intracranial hemorrhages) from shaking is found in 33% - 40% of all cases.”   In addition to head injuries, other forms of child abuse including skin injuries, fractures, abdominal injuries, and burns result in pain, permanent injury and disfigurement of children. Neglect is often unrecognized and when reported can be challenging to investigate and prosecute. Our youngest most vulnerable victims, including our children with disabilities, often cannot tell us what has happened to them.

Tarrant County now has the 3rd highest number of confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect in Texas. In 2017, there were 5,630 confirmed child abuse victims in Tarrant County, a 9% increase from 2016.   Tarrant County had 24 child abuse deaths in 2016, an increase of 50%.   In FY 2017, 172 child abuse fatalities were reported in Texas. Ten children died from child abuse in Tarrant County, second only to Harris County.  Dallas  had 7 child abuse fatalities. Tarrant children have a significantly higher percentage of confirmed physical abuse cases compared to Dallas and the national average. 

Statistics confirm the need for child abuse investigative training and prevention education.  As noted in Growing Up in North Texas, A Community Assessment for Tarrant County, the best prevention starts with aligning resources, coordinating efforts and engineering a safe and healthy environment to strengthen families and communities at risk. All three SBA programs align with these strategies.

No agencies besides SBA provide the three-pronged service focus on child physical abuse. The Utah-based National Center on SBS addresses programs, policy and research.  Resource groups are scattered nationwide, but only SBA blends the allied core services of Victim Family Support, Training, and Prevention. 

 

 

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