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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 211489 Find in a Library
Title: Child Sexual Abuse: Are Health Care Providers Looking the Other Way?
Journal: Forensic Nursing  Volume:1  Issue:2  Dated:Summer 2005  Pages:78-81
Author(s): Shelia Savell
Date Published: 2005
Page Count: 4
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This literature review on the role of health-care providers in recognizing and reporting child sexual abuse (CSA) addresses barriers to reporting CSA, health-care providers' reporting habits, and screening criteria for CSA; recommendations are offered for improving the recognition of CSA and increasing health-care providers' reporting of suspected CSA.
Abstract: CSA is defined as "any sexual activity with a child when consent is not or cannot be given." CSA is a crime under the laws of all States. Also, every State mandates that professionals who work with children, including physicians and nurses, report suspected CSA to child protection agencies. Barriers to reporting CSA include inadequate knowledge and training related to CSA, lack of confidence in the evidence collected, fear of harming the child and/or family, lack of confidence in the ability of the social service agency to deal with the investigation, concerns about interacting with the legal system, loyalty to the family, and the belief that an accusation might lead to undesirable consequences. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Professional Society on Abuse of Children recommend that screening for abuse (physical or sexual) be incorporated in every well-child visit. Guidelines for deciding whether to report suspicions of CSA are provided by the AAP. Currently, there is no evidence-based CSA screening tool. Further research is required for the development and validation of CSA screening techniques. Relevant studies have consistently found that health-care providers are generally deficient in knowledge and training regarding screening for CSA and when findings warrant a report to child protective services. In the absence of an evidence-based screening tool, health-care providers should at least cultivate an alertness to the potential for CSA and stay current on psychological, behavioral, and physical signs of abuse. 1 table and 21 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse detection; Child abuse reporting; Child Sexual Abuse; Healthcare; Physician child abuse neglect role
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