Topic: Violence and abuse

Do hospitals disclose child abuse? An assessment of evaluating practices.

Myhre, M., Lindboe, A., & Dyb, G. (2010). Oppdager sykehusene barnemishandling? En kartlegging av utredningspraksis [Do hospitals disclose child abuse? An assessment of evaluating practices.] Norwegian only. (Rapport 2010).

In this study an assessment was made on how pediatric wards evaluate physical child abuse.

A prospective observational study was conducted where all pediatric wards in Norway anonymously reported all of the cases, within one year, where possible child abuse was assessed. 70 cases were registered. These cases consisted of children ages 0 to 14 years old.

Type of case, evaluating practices and procedures, results from the evaluations and referral practices to- and from pediatric wards were examined.

Based on the findings in the study possible recommendations were provided in the report.
The medical examination process seems to a large extent follow recommended guidelines. Yet the process leading to the suspicion of child abuse and its following evaluation seems more random. It is concerning that so few referrals were received from first-line healthcare services. 

The medical evaluation was important in protecting the rights of the child and family.
In most cases the medical evaluation in itself did not provide straightforward conclusions as to whether the child was subjected to abuse and in need of protection and other evaluations were necessary to evaluate this.