Thursday, June 14, 2007

Prevent Child Abuse

New Guidelines Issued for Evaluating Physical Abuse in Children

June 7, 2007 — The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines providing a clinical approach to accurately evaluate and diagnose children who appear to have been physically abused in the past or present. The new recommendations are published in the June issue of Pediatrics.

"Physical abuse remains an underreported (and often undetected) problem for several reasons including individual and community variations in what is considered 'abuse,' inadequate knowledge and training among professionals in the recognition of abusive injuries, unwillingness to report suspected abuse, and professional bias," write Nancy D. Kellogg, MD, and colleagues from the Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. "Misdiagnosed victims [are] more likely to be younger, white, have less severe symptoms, and live with both parents when compared with abused children who [are] not initially misdiagnosed. Such studies suggest a need for practitioners to be vigilant to the possibility of abuse when evaluating children who have atypical accidental injuries or obscure symptoms that are suggestive of traumatic etiologies but who do not have a history of trauma."

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Child abuse is a problem in Malaysia. It is a silent problem because many cases go unreported. Present legistration and child abuse surveillances are not adequate or efficient to deal with these poor children. Relatives and neighbours are often reluctant to report child abuse. Also there is the matter of culture being involved. The culture of shame hides the crime. Also where do one draws the line between parental discipline and child abuse? However the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines are useful for doctors and concerned citizens.

Drawing credit: OM Chennai

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