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Health  2014 

Which Are the Factors Associated to Child Mistreatment? Use of a Routinely Collected Specific Dataset for Surveillance in a Belgian Pediatric Unit

DOI: 10.4236/health.2014.612171, PP. 1396-1407

Keywords: Child Maltreatment, Physical Abuse, Neglect, Epidemiology, Surveillance

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Abstract:

Introduction: Child abuse is a serious health problem with compelling evidence that the phenomenon is common throughout the world. The Center “SOS enfants ULB” is a specialized team, established in a pediatric ward, which had mission to prevent and to treat the situations of children victims of physical, sexual, psychological abuse or of neglect. Our objectives were to describe the characteristics of 439 children hospitalized for (suspicion of) maltreatment and to investigate different factors potentially associated with the children at risk of neglect or maltreatment, the children victims of neglect and the physically maltreated children. Methods: Chi square test and multinomial logistic regression models with clustered robust standard error were applied to assess the relationship between the three types of mistreatment and the potential associated factors. Results: Maltreatment was observed for almost one in two children (48.7%) and approximately four on ten (41.5%) were considered at risk. Physical abuse was the most prevalent (57.9%) among the maltreated children and neglect was the second most prevalent (37.4%) form of maltreatment. Regarding the criteria leading to hospitalisation, at least one protective criterion was observed for a little more than eight children on ten. The parental criteria have shown that social problems and conjugal conflicts were the most prevalent for this category of hospitalisation criteria. Conclusion: These data, concerning the hospitalized children for which there is (suspicion of) mistreatment, collected by this team make important contribution to describing child maltreatment and its associated factors. Despite the fact that these hospitalized cases may be probably more serious than those who were not reported, every event, however small it may be, should be known for better organizing each level of prevention.

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