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Child Abuse and Neglect: Do We know enough? A Cross-sectional Study of Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavior of Dentists regarding Child Abuse and Neglect in Pune, India

Child Abuse and Neglect: Do We know enough? A Cross-sectional Study of Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavior of Dentists regarding Child Abuse and Neglect in Pune, India

Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice 18(2): 162-169

Child abuse and neglect (CAN) is a significant global problem with a serious impact on the victims throughout their lives. Dentists have the unique opportunity to address this problem. However, reporting such cases has become a sensitive issue due to the uncertainty of the diagnosis. The authors are testing the knowledge of the dentists toward CAN and also trying to question the efforts of the educational institutions to improve this knowledge for the better future of the younger generation. Questionnaire data were distributed to 1,106 members regarding their knowledge, professional responsibilities, and behavior concerning child abuse. There were 762 responses to the questionnaire, yielding a response rate of 68.9%. Although dentists consider themselves able to identify suspicious cases, only a small percentage of the participants correctly identified all signs of abuse and 76.8% knew the indicators of child abuse. Most of them were willing to get involved in detecting a case and about 90% believed that it is their ethical duty to report child abuse. Only 7.2% suspected an abuse case in the past. The numbers indicate a lack of awareness about CAN in these participants. No differences were observed between sexes, year of graduation, types of license, frequency at which children were treated, and formal training already received. A large proportion of child physical abuse cases go undocumented and unreported. The data showed that not all dental care providers and students were prepared to fulfill their legal and professional responsibilities in these situations. There should be modifications in the dental school curriculum focusing on educational experiences regarding child abuse to strengthen their capability to care and protect children.

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Accession: 059494977

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PMID: 28174372

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