Manner of death: coroner’s cases with society involvement compared with coroner’s cases without society involvement
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The manner of death indicates how children and youth in Ontario die. If the well-being, living environments and circumstances of children and youth across Ontario, aged 0 - 18, with or without Society involvement, were equal, it would be expected that the number of paediatric deaths occurring from a given manner of death would be the same in each category.
It is recognized that vulnerable children and youth have a greater likelihood of receiving services from Societies. The manner of death may provide valuable insight into the impact of services provided but should not be used as an indicator of the effectiveness of service in isolation of many other indicators because Societies provide services in the broader context of a number of variables and are generally not the only service providers engaged with this population of children and youth.
A significant difference was noted between the number of deaths with Society involvement compared to the number of deaths investigated by a coroner without Society involvement, by manner of death (A Fisher’s Exact test was performed. Relationship between the variables was significant: p =0.0005).
Chart 15 illustrates that in 2018, undetermined deaths appear to be more prevalent where a Society was involved with the child, youth or their family prior to the death, while accidents and natural deaths appear to be less prevalent, which is consistent with the previous two years. In 2018, homicides were equivalent amongst those with and without Society involvement which is consistent with the two years prior. Considering the overall sample size, no significance can be determined within each manner of death and the relationship to Society involvement.
When viewed as a six-year cohort of data, significant differences were present for all manners of death with the exception of suicide which was fairly evenly distributed. As in previous years, it was found that there was a positive association for children and youth with Society involvement who died as a result of homicide or of undetermined manner, while a negative association was found for children and youth with Society involvement who died as a result of accidents or of natural causes. (n=2331 coroner investigations, omitting natural hospital deaths).
Note: Chi-square test was performed. Relation between the variables was significant, 2 (4, n=2331) = 122.81, p is less than 0.00005. Relationship between Homicide and Society involvement, and Undetermined manner of death and Society involvement was significant, where the residual was greater than 2, (2.64 and 7.8, respectively). Negative relationship between Accidents and Society involvement, and Natural deaths and Society involvement was significant, where absolute residual was greater than 2, (-2.9 and -4.30, respectively). Relationship between Natural manner of death and no Society involvement was significant, where residual was greater than 2 (2.31). Negative relationship between no Society involvement and undetermined manner of deaths was significant with an absolute residual greater than 2 (-4.15).
Chart 15 illustrates that in 2018, undetermined deaths were more prevalent where a Society was involved with the child, youth or their family prior to the death at 34%, while accidents and natural deaths appear to have been less prevalent respectively (19%, and 23%). Homicides and suicides were found to be equivalent amongst those with and without Society involvement. This chart includes data for all paediatric deaths, age 0-18 with the exception of natural deaths with Society involvement that would not have been investigated otherwise.
Chart 15: Manner of death of coroners investigations with or without Society involvement in 2018 (n=433)