Thursday, May 14, 2009

Grimm Statistics

This past November I heard about a horrific case of child abuse/murder in the UK. Baby P was a toddler who, despite having been seen by the local child protective services on several occasions, died of abuse while in the care of his mother and her boyfriend. The case has stayed with me because of the particular cruelty that was shown such a small child.

I ran across the case again in a column by Times Online writer Camilla Cavendish ( Hat Tip to Christopher Chantrill of the American Thinker) on the Cinderella Effect: a term describing the phenomenon that "children are at far greater risk from stepfathers and non-blood 'relatives' than from natural parents. A Canadian study lasting over 20 years put a stepchild's risk of death at 50 to 100 times that of a child who lived with his natural parents. A University of Iowa study claimed that a child's was 4 times as likely to be sexually abused by a "non-biological father" than a natural one. British research reinforces theses findings.

Wicked stepparents are a staple in children's fairy tales, and I always felt like they got a bad rap stemming from the natural desire to be with ones own kin. It appears that there is a practical aspect to this desire as well.

I have not looked it up, but I would bet that these numbers do not hold true when talking about parents who adopt very young babies. I would be interested in seeing that data.

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