Child abuse includes physical and emotional maltreatment, sexual abuse, and neglect. It is a complex problem that can lead to negative physical and emotional health outcomes. Prevention, recognition, and treatment of child abuse requires a multi-disciplinary approach involving behavioral, environmental, and educational interventions. Since family physicians care for the entire family, they are in a unique position to recognize and help prevent child abuse, as well as take measures to treat victims of child abuse and their families.
Family physicians should provide information about child development, stages that can be stressful, and guidance about appropriate discipline techniques.
Family physicians should be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of child abuse and must report suspected abuse to the proper authorities. Family physicians should be aware of the resources available in their communities for children and families who require additional support. When child abuse is detected, family preservation is preferred, but the child's safety and well-being is the most important consideration. (1987) (2019 COD)