The former Penn State coach is not alone. New research shows that physicians fail to report child maltreatment cases to the proper authorities too
PROBLEM: If you witness or even suspect any form of child abuse, you'd like to think that your reaction would be better than that of Joe Paterno or Graham Spanier. You'd instinctively protect the victim and report what you know to the proper authorities. The reality is, it may not be that easy -- even for doctors, or school officials, who are responsible for the welfare of these children.
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RESULTS: The doctors and experts agreed about the suspicion of abuse in 81 percent of the cases of physical injury, but the physicians did not report 21 percent of the cases that the experts would have.
CONCLUSION: Child abuse specialists and health care providers are generally on the same page about the signs to look for to spot violence against children. Doctors, however, are less likely to report their findings to the authorities.
IMPLICATION: The authors say future training of primary health care providers should include state laws that mandate reporting of child abuse and guidelines for better recognition of suspicious injuries.
Image: Carolyn Kaster/AP.
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