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Schmidt CM, Klein S, Stock P, Reinshagen K, Königs I. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2020, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






BACKGROUND: Identification of child abuse is a daily challenge in medical work. The estimated number of unreported cases of child abuse and neglect is high.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the redesigned clinical child protection program of a major German pediatric hospital and to improve programs in other hospitals for children and physicians through presentation of the advantages of the new structure.

METHODS: All cases of child protection at the Altona Children's Hospital were retrospectively analyzed before and after restructuring of the clinic's child protection program for a two-year period each, and a comparison was made. The child protection program was restructured and the new program subsequently managed by a fulltime coordinator.

RESULTS: The prevalence of both suspected and substantiated cases of child abuse was significantly higher after restructuring of the child protection program. Before the change, 24 cases were investigated, of which 23 were substantiated; afterward, 124 cases were investigated and 89 were substantiated. Despite the high number of false-positive suspected cases, stigmatization of the families during the clarification progress was avoided by using a very sensitive approach, and the family was not confronted until the suspicion was affirmed.

CONCLUSION: The presented concept of child protection in medical clinics seems to facilitate a higher detection rate of child abuse cases. The reduction in the number of undetected cases and thereby prevention of possible escalation of abuse, as well as the decline in the immense social follow-up costs, justifies the increased personnel costs.

Language: de


Child abuse; Neglect; Child hazard; Child protection; Estimated number of unreported cases


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