We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

Child Abuse: Legal and Education/Training Issues—Part 3

Barriers to reporting child abuse or neglect (CA/N) most often cited by respondents in a Kentucky study (2006) were an uncertainty that reporting would help the child, fear that reporting will make it worse for the child, a loss of relationship with the family, inconsistent response (by the system) to previous reports, unfamiliarity with social workers, and risk of medical malpractice.1

The barriers to reporting CA/N articulated by sources are a fear of attorneys/court/malpractice/family retribution, a lack of confidence in the system response, and the time it takes to fill out a report when they have back-to-back medical appointments.

Education in the area of CA/N is not mandatory to become a physician and most medical schools do not require training in the area.2

In a Canadian study, Ward, Bennett, Plint, King, Jabbour, and Gaboury (2004) found through a survey of child protection program directors, pediatric program directors, and pediatric residents that only 20% of the 15 programs nationwide had mandatory clinical rotations in CA/N, 60% offered clinical electives, and 47% did not offer any specific clinical experience in CA/N.3

Residents and program directors in rating training in CA/N most often rated it as “somewhat adequate, needs improvement.” A large percentage (92%) of residents felt that they needed further training in CA/N, graduating residents also mirrored this need (82%).

1 Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Community Based Services, and Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky. (2007). Child abuse recognition education:  Surveys of physicians and DCBS staff.

3 Ward, M.G.K., Bennett, S., Plint, A.C., King, W.J., Jabbour, M., & Garoury, I. (2004). Child protection: a neglected area of pediatric residency training. Child Abuse & Neglect, 28, 10, 1113-1122.


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