An algorithm identifies abused children by cross-referencing data from medical records

While cases of beaten children are on the rise due to the various incarcerations, an algorithm launched by a team of researchers makes it easier to identify child abuse in hospitalized children.

Uan algorithm to scan the records of children admitted to the hospital to detect those who are victims of child abuse? This is possible thanks to artificial intelligence!

Published in the weekly epidemiological bulletin of Public health France, this study has been in the hands of several French researchers for more than ten years. The algorithm tested children admitted to Dijon University Hospital aged 0 to 5 years.

The system is based on “the use of the program for the medicalization of hospital and clinic information systems, where the pathologies and lesions observed on each patient are identified and coded”, AFP specifies.

“If the child has been to the hospital several times and the device identifies a recurrence of some strange lesions, it may give alarm”, specifies to 20 minutes Mélanie Loiseau, co-author of the study and specialist in forensic medicine.

On the same subject ⋙ The Independent Commission’s alarming new report on incest and sexual abuse of children

Proven results

Total, 170 files with children likely to suffer from domestic violence were identified by the algorithm . 85% cases where the tool detected “very likely abuse” was found to be true, similar in 50%cases where abuse was suspected. For the medical profession, it is still complicated to report child abuse, and that is why the purpose of this tool is to “identify non-obvious malpractice”.

By 2021, Brigitte Macron had already launched one similar surgery to detect cases of abused children hospitalized. “Many children who have been abused as teenagers have gone to the hospital one day or another for one reason or another. That is when we need to be able to screen them and recognize their ailments,” the first lady explained at the microphone of France blue.

To do this, seven teams consisting of a doctor, a nurse and a social worker were welcomed to the hospitals to help the medical staff identify these cases of covert violence.

The numbers are rising

A study published in the journal Child abuse and neglect and passed on by The world showed it cases of child abuse between March and April 2020 had increased significantly.

The researchers observed one increase in increases of 50% over the previous three years. But that’s not all: the violence is also more serious . In 2020, 1.79% of children hospitalized for physical abuse died, compared to 1.65% between 2017 and 2019.

According to the researchers, several factors explain this increase, in particular economic and social consequences of the health crisisas school closures : locked in 24 hours a day with their parents, these children were much more exposed to the risk of domestic violence.

also read
Talking about violence to children thanks to this little free and illustrated book
“Stop the shaken baby”: the government’s shock campaign to raise awareness of this act of abuse


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