April marks both National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month . As so many stay home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, it remains crucial to further understand who is at risk for relationship violence and work to prevent abuse and trauma in close relationships. According to the CDC, 1 in 7 children experienced abuse or neglect in the past year and approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience violence or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime; these serious problems have potential to worsen under shelter-at-home orders.

Family violence is not the only danger during this time. The CDC has identified suicide as the 10 th leading cause of death in the U.S., and pandemic-related isolation, reduced access to care, and financial and career concerns pose a serious threat to individuals’ mental health. The Los Angeles Times recently reported an increase in calls to L.A.’s suicide hotline, as Scientific American reported on COVID-19 related suicides.

Our April issue focuses on a variety of issues in family violence and suicide prevention:

Basile KC, Clayton HB, Rostad WL, Leemis RW.
  • Past-12-month sexual violence victimization was significantly associated with risk behaviors in high school students, including substance use, injury, negative sexual health behaviors, feelings of sadness or hopelessness, suicidality, poor academic performance, and cognitive difficulties. 

Schmutte TJ, Wilkinson ST.
  • Among geriatric male and female suicide decedents, most did not have a known mental illness, most did not disclose their suicidal intent, and a physical health problem was the most prevalent precipitating circumstance.

Parrish JW, Fleckman JM, Prindle JJ, Eastman AL, Weil LEG.
  • Incidence of reported child maltreatment between California and Alaska was compared, with 26.0% of Alaskan children and 19.0% of Californian children reported to Child Protective Services by age 7 years. Differences in risk between the two states was most likely due to variation in the population structure (race/ethnicity) as opposed to modifiable factors. 

Talbott JMV, Dutcher JS, Pougnier CA, et al.
  • This literature review analyzed currently published curricular and extracurricular U.S. medical education resources and found existing resources for health professionals on the identification, approach and clinical care of presumptive victims of sex trafficking are limited.

We hope you find these articles to be timely and informative.

The Editorial Staff,
American Journal of Preventive Medicine