Telethon turns to SAS® for enhanced research into child abuse and neglect
Telethon Kids Institute has turned to SAS in its drive to help counter the growing maltreatment of Australian children. The West Australian not-for-profit organisation has implemented SAS analytics to gain greater value from its research into child abuse and neglect, including the causes of illnesses, diseases and other adverse conditions affecting young people.
The problem is acute. While many incidents of abuse and neglect amongst Australian children go un-reported, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says there were 46,714 known cases in 2015-16 – one every 12 minutes.
The Telethon Kids Institute’s research taps into data from many and varied sources – including the Data Linkage Branch of the Western Australian Government – and uses SAS for the timely loading and analysing of files comprising more than two million records and 100 variables.
Emphasising the importance of this work, Scott Sims, the Institute’s Data Analyst, notes that reports of neglect and abuse to Australian child protection agencies have increased steadily since 2011, and that research must be of the highest standard to help reverse this trend.
“When you’re doing this research, you need to back up your findings with sound tools and methodologies. With SAS, we can guarantee the accuracy of our procedures and have confidence in our findings.”
Sims assisted with a recent study aimed at understanding the risk of child maltreatment across different disabilities and said that while Telethon already knew that disabled children experienced elevated rates of abuse and neglect, “We required the processing capabilities of SAS to show the true extent of the problem. Maltreatment risk is not consistent across all disability types. Children with intellectual disability, mental problems, and conduct disorders had increased risk, but not autism, Down syndrome, or birth defects.”
That study highlighted how different risk levels relate to different disability types, and has been shared with the Australian government to provide further evidence that a prevention and early intervention framework is needed.
Pointing out that research in a vacuum helps nobody, Sims adds, “Our challenge is translating our research effectively to ensure the evidence is applied in practice, to its full potential”.
Commenting on this adoption of the SAS analytics solution, David Bowie, Vice President of SAS Australia and New Zealand, applauded the Institute for the value of its work, adding,” All research directed at improving human wellbeing is important. However, we are particularly delighted to be associated with Telethon Kids Institute, whose endeavours are focused on the more vulnerable amongst Australia’s future generations.”
About Telethon Kids Institute:
Based in Perth, Western Australia, our team of almost 600 dedicated researchers and support staff are passionate about discovering causes, cures and treatments for the illnesses and diseases that target our kids and young people. With top scientific minds and facilities, a reputation for being at the forefront of global child health research and a track record to prove it, Telethon Kids is world-class. Yet we know that our work is even stronger when we work together. We are committed to collaboration. We want every child to have the very best opportunity to enjoy a happy and healthy childhood. We create and facilitate connections with researchers, clinicians and practitioners, service providers, our partners and the community, to maximise the potential in what we do and deliver tangible benefits to kids and families.
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