Child Abuse

Child abuse is a multifaceted problem that includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Neglect, or not providing for a child's needs, is also a form of abuse. The American Academy of Family Physicians recognizes that child abuse is a very complex issue and addressing child abuse requires a multidisciplinary approach, including recognition, treatment, and education.

Therefore, the AAFP will cooperate in recognition, treatment, and education efforts with other groups in organized medicine, nationally-recognized centers for the prevention and treatment of child abuse, responsible government agencies, and appropriate lay organizations.

The AAFP will provide child abuse educational information to members about:

  • the incidence, prevalence and complexities of all forms of child abuse,
  • information about the reporting of child abuse,
  • prevention of child abuse,
  • early recognition of child abuse; and
  • the diagnosis and appropriate treatment of child abuse.

In the treatment of child abuse, the AAFP endorses the treatment of the child involved and that child's whole family. The AAFP also endorses rehabilitation of the abusers or potential abusers using all modalities, including the penal/correctional system, along with medical and psychological treatments.

The AAFP endorses family preservation when possible, always keeping the safety and well being of the children as primary objectives. (1987) (2013 COD)