Knowledge of dentists on child abuse in two Brazilian southern cities

Cintia Rejane da Silveira de Mello, Leticia Brandalise Moletta, Carolina Dea Bruzamolin, Marilisa Carneiro Leão Gabardo, Eduardo Pizzatto, Wellington Menirval Zaitter


Introduction: The child abuse against children and teenagers is relevant and the dentist has a fundamental role in the process of identification of suspected cases. Objective: To evaluate the level of knowledge of the dentists about child/teenager abuse and the attitude towards identified cases, in the cities of Rio Negro (Paraná, Brazil) and Mafra (Santa Catarina, Brazil). Material and methods: Questionnaires were applied to 44 professionals of these cities, who
practiced in private and/or public health service. The questions covered the profile of respondents regarding gender, institution (public or private), level of education, practicing time and place. The information on abuse comprised the level of information about violence and knowledge on the compulsory notification of suspected cases. Results: Regarding the cases of abuse, 34% of the sample
dealt with this situation. Almost half of respondents (47.7%) reported being able to recognize the typical lesions of child abuse, yet only 32% felt trained to do so. Only 22.7% reported having training to detect suspected cases. And 91% said they would notice the Guardian Council. About 48% confirmed they had knowledge of the legal implications in case of omission. Conclusion: Most of the dentists had insufficient knowledge about child abuse. However, the dentists
know how to deal with such a situation. Continuing education seems to be an appropriate strategy to promote professional knowledge on the subject. It is also suggested the implementation of a national protocol to facilitate notifications and the classification of abuse types.



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