Commitment, confidence, and concerns: Assessing health care professionals’ child maltreatment reporting attitudes.

Authors: Foster RH, Olson-Dorff D, Reiland HM, Budzak-Garza A


Child Abuse Negl. 2017 Feb 24;67:54-63

Given that childhood maltreatment is a significant international public health problem contributing to all major morbidity and mortality determinants, there is need to explore current practices and readiness of health care professionals (HCPs) to assess maltreatment, identify maltreatment risk factors, and complete mandated reporting. HCPs (N=114) completed a child maltreatment mandated reporting measure to assess level of comfort with mandated reporting, commitment to the reporting role, and confidence in the child protection system to take action as needed. Additional questions explored comfort discussing maltreatment and risk factors for maltreatment in a medical setting and knowledge of community resources. Results indicated that HCPs were committed to their mandated reporting role and did not perceive substantial potential negative consequences of reporting. However, there were concerns regarding lack of confidence in the system's ability to respond sufficiently to reports. Despite commitment to the reporting role, results showed that large proportions of HCPs do not routinely screen for maltreatment, feel uncomfortable discussing maltreatment history, and lack knowledge about community resources. Additional training efforts must be prioritized in health care systems to improve short- and long-term health outcomes.



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