The Department of Defense is investigating the high rates of child abuse and homicides
at military installations across the nation. Children living in military bases
are twice as likely to be killed by a parent or caregiver than other children.
Is this because military parents, who are schooled in violence, are more violent
towards their kids? No one knows for sure.
The study examined all cases of child abuse in North Carolina from 1985 to
2000, in children from infancy through age 10. Four military installations (Ft.
Bragg, Pope Air Force Base, Camp Lejeune and New River Air Station) are in the
two counties with the highest child death rates. Child abuse homicide is defined
as the killing of a child by a parent or other person responsible for its health
or welfare. Military families are defined as those with one or both parents
on active duty.
"In this study period, the long-term patterns of child abuse homicides
are not [a] coincidence," says psychologist Marcia Herman-Geddens, who
conducted the study. "They suggest problems in and around North Carolina
military families and military communities that predictably result in a consistently
higher number and rate of child abuse homicides than in non-military communities."