April 1985

Evaluation of Child Abuse Reporting by Physicians

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics (Dr Saulsbury) and the School of Nursing (Dr Campbell), University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville.

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(4):393-395. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140060075033

• There is little information concening child abuse reporting by physicians. The present study, a questionnaire survey, was therefore designed to examine several aspects of child abuse reporting by practicing physicians in Virginia. Physicians diagnosed few abused or neglected children in their practices. More than 90% saw five or fewer cases, and 26% encountered no abuse or neglect at all during the preceding year. Most physicians were inclined to report all diagnosed cases of physical abuse (91%) and sexual abuse (92%), but fewer reported all cases of physical neglect (58%), emotional abuse (45%), or medical neglect (43%). The two most frequently cited reasons for not reporting were (1) reluctance to report before you are certain of the diagnosis of abuse or neglect; (2) the belief that you can work with the family to solve the problem without outside intervention.

(AJDC 1985;139:393-395)