Men more likely to be accused of shaking infants, study finds

Men are nearly three times more likely than women to be accused of violently shaking an infant, The Medill Justice Project reports in a story published today.

Out of nearly 3,000 cases nationwide, 72.5 percent of those accused of crimes are , while 27.5 percent are , The Medill Justice Project discovered in its first published finding in more than a year of research on this largely opaque criminal justice issue. Shaken-baby syndrome crimes involve caregivers who are accused of inflicting severe head trauma on children, typically under the age of 2, causing a triad of symptoms—brain bleeding, brain swelling and bleeding within the eye.

Experts interviewed about the gender point to more than one cause for why so many more men than women are accused of shaken-baby syndrome crimes. While there is no clear consensus on the causes, some experts posit that men are not as socialized as women in how to care for infants. With new national data on gender, hospitals and advocacy organizations may be better equipped to provide shaken-baby syndrome prevention resources to men and women. Only a handful of major organizations target men and women differently in their shaken-baby syndrome prevention efforts.

Working with undergraduate journalism students at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, The Medill Justice Project identified and confirmed more than 3,600 cases of shaken-baby syndrome by running defendant names and other identifiers through proprietary legal databases, cross-referencing them with police, appellate court and , where available. More than 30 sources provided The Medill Justice Project with case information.

The Medill Justice Project plans to make its national shaken-baby syndrome database available to the public. With the help of a team of engineering graduate students at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering, The Medill Justice Project database is tracking and confirming nearly 40 categories of information on thousands of cases, with gender being the first. After another category is confirmed, the first phase of the database will be released on its website for researchers, journalists and others as a public service.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Many nurses unprepared to meet dying patients

12 minutes ago

Most nurses in their work care for patients who are dying. A study of more than 200 students has shown that many nurses in training feel unprepared and anxious when faced with the prospect of meeting patients during end-of-life ...

Spinach extract decreases cravings, aids weight loss

13 minutes ago

A spinach extract containing green leaf membranes called thylakoids decreases hedonic hunger with up to 95% - and increases weight loss with 43%. This has been shown in a recently published long-term human study at Lund University ...

Tobacco display bans protect youth and quitters

1 hour ago

Ending the display and promotion of cigarettes and tobacco in retail shops helps prevent young people taking up smoking and keeps quitters on track, according to new University of Otago research.

Monitoring work-related illnesses in Connecticut

2 hours ago

As we mark the annual Labor Day holiday, Connecticut workers continue to suffer occupational illness rates higher than the national average. A recent study by UConn Health found that 7,129 unique cases of ...

User comments