AIST database to help ID child abuse injuries

Kyodo News

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has developed a database it says can be used to distinguish injuries to children that were caused by accidents from those inflicted through domestic violence.

Because parents who abuse their children often blame their injuries on accidents, the database will seek to verify such claims by gauging the likelihood of an injury being caused by accident, the government lab, known as AIST, said.

The database performs the task by comparing new injuries with about 10,000 other cases in which children were treated by the National Center for Child Health and Development.

The data are classified by gender, age and stage of physical development, and detail the nature of the injury.

The institute used the database to examine 24 child injury cases suspected as abuse and found that the chances of accidental cause ranged up to about 20 percent in 22 of them. But percentages sometimes got as high as 50 percent, so the lab says it is still working to improve the database’s precision.

Doctors who suspect abuse are required to report their suspicions to counseling offices for children. But they often balk because they are not sure what they suspect is true.