The identification of child abuse in Harris County in 1998

Elsie Love Sanford, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Characteristics of child abuse cases are not well known. In this study I collected data on 70 child abuse cases that were reported to Children's Protective Services in Harris County in 1998. The purpose of this study was to determine the factors in Harris County that lead to the identification of physical and sexual abuse. In order to answer the questions of who, what, where and when relative to the discovery of abuse I applied the same questionnaire (see Appendix) to each of 35 Sexual Abuse case reports and to each of 35 Physical Abuse/Neglect case reports. Answers to the first four questions were arranged by frequency distribution to show the predominant reporter, the 10 most common indicators, the most common locale, and the most frequent timing. Tables of the age, sex, and ethnicity of the children indicate the identity of those whose victimization was most reported. In addition the relationship between the form questions and the characteristics of the children was explored. A comparison of Sexual Abuse cases with Physical Abuse/Neglect cases was conducted and the results were analyzed and recorded in the Tables. Child maltreatment often has negative short and long term effects on children's mental health and development. Suicide, violence, delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse and other forms of criminality are frequently child abuse related. Early detection and treatment helps to alleviate the myriad mental and physical ailments that untreated victims present as adults. This translates into medical dollar savings. The long term objectives of my research were to reduce the number of undetected and unreported child abuse cases in Harris County by formulating better educational programs and literature for medical professionals and other personnel who are in contact with children.

Subject Area

Public health|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Criminology

Recommended Citation

Sanford, Elsie Love, "The identification of child abuse in Harris County in 1998" (2001). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1416258.