Child physical abuse: health professionals' perceptions, diagnosis and responses

Mary Russell, Anne Lazenbatt, Ruth Freeman, Wagner Marcenes

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    30 Citations (Scopus)


    The objectives of this cross-sectional survey were to assess primary health professionals' perceptions of and ability to recognize child physical abuse in their practice. A random sample was taken of 979 nurses, doctors, and dentists working in primary care in Northern Ireland. The response rate was 44%, and the results showed that 59% of respondents had seen a suspicious case of child physical abuse, of which 47% (n = 201) had reported it. Ability and willingness to recognize and report abuse varied across the three professions. The findings suggest a professional reluctance to engage in recognizing and reporting abuse. The barriers could be reduced by providing multi-professional and inter-agency training, support for the primary health professionals in practice, as well as higher education programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels for nursing, dentistry and medicine.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)332-338
    Number of pages7
    JournalBritish Journal of Community Nursing
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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