Citation Information :
Ramegowda AB, Kumar VD, Bhatnagar S, Chandregowda KY, Anandkumar AH. Awareness and Professional Responses in Managing Cases of Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) among Dental Students, General Dentists, and Pedodontists of Bengaluru City, India. Int J Clin Pediatr Dent 2023; 16 (4):619-625.
Aim: The aim is to assess the awareness and professional responsibilities of pedodontists, general dentists, and dental students concerning suspected child abuse and to explore their professional experiences with this issue.
Material and methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted among 400 conveniently selected general dentists, pedodontists, and dental students in Bengaluru city. Self-administered, structured, both open- and closed-ended questionnaires were used to elicit information about their experience (if any) with suspected/confirmed cases of Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN). Responses to open-ended items were grouped based on common responses. Descriptive statistics and Chi-squared tests were used to analyze the data.
Results: About 15.6% suspected a case of CAN based on physical indicators, and 8% reported a confirmed case of CAN that was based on conflicting history from child to parent. Counseling of both child and parent, followed by a proper recording of history, was the action taken for suspected cases. In addition, counseling of parents followed by reporting to concerned authorities was done for confirmed cases. About 18.4% observed a change in the child's behavior that was predominantly scared and submissive. Counseling of the child/parent/caretaker was the preferred approach, followed by reporting to concerned authorities. Pedodontists preferred to create public awareness, and dental students preferred to report to concerned authorities.
Conclusion: The exposure to a suspected or confirmed case of CAN was very less in the present study. Not many participants who encountered a child abuse case opted to report it to higher authorities and rather focused on counseling the parent/family. The role of pedodontists was found to be crucial since most reported cases were from their end; however, dental students showed a greater interest in managing a case of CAN. There is a need to create more awareness regarding the management of CAN cases among dentists and students.
Clinical significance: CAN is a major problem around the world that can have long-term adverse effects on Children. The first step in intervention is awareness and identification of CAN cases.
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