University Of Tasmania
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Addressing the clinical burden of child physical abuse and neglect in a large metropolitan region: improving the evidence-base

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 20:48 authored by Raman, S, Maiese, M, Hurley, K, Greenfield, D
Children at risk of abuse are more likely to be hospitalized and utilize health services according to international research. In a large metropolitan health region in New South Wales, Australia, there was little known of the clinical burden of child physical abuse and/or neglect (PAN), or of systems for clinical assessment of children presenting with abuse/neglect. We aimed to identify the number of children presenting with suspected PAN to emergency departments (EDs) and paediatric services in this region, to determine enablers and barriers to assessment for children with PAN presenting to frontline services, and to identify best practices to address gaps. We collated available data on children presenting to EDs and paediatric services with suspected PAN in 2007. We interviewed 36 health professionals from nine hospitals and 12 statutory child protection professionals, across the region before undertaking relevant document analysis. Of 64,700 paediatric ED presentations, a quarter were due to injury; 2%–5% of these were due to maltreatment. Clinician estimates and assessments of PAN varied widely; health and welfare workers identified major practice gaps, as well as good local practice. We identified feasible minimum standards for improving clinical assessment and follow-up for children presenting with PAN, given the right organizational support.


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Copyright 2014 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Evaluation of health and support services not elsewhere classified