Male Caretakers are at Greater Risk to Cause Abusive Head Trauma

Courtesy of the Journal of American Pediatrics

(emphasis mine)

Abusive Head Trauma: The Relationship of Perpetrators to Their Victims

Suzanne P. Starling MD, James R. Holden MS, and Carole Jenny MD, MBA

...Male perpetrators outnumbered females 2.2:1, with fathers, step-fathers, and mothers' boyfriends committing over 60% of the crimes. Fathers accounted for 37% of the abusers, followed by boyfriends at 20.5%. Female baby-sitters, at 17.3%, were a large, previously unrecognized group of perpetrators. Mothers were responsible for only 12.6% of our cases. All but one of the confessed abusers were with the child at the time of onset of symptoms.

Conclusions. Our data suggest male caretakers are at greater risk to abuse infants. Baby-sitters are a concerning risk group, because they represent a significant proportion of abusers, and they more easily escape prosecution. In addition, no prevention efforts have been directed at baby-sitters. These statistics could help change the focus of efforts to prevent abusive head trauma.

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