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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 31-34

Child physical abuse: Perception and responsibility of dentists living in the United Arab Emirates

Department of Growth and Development, Ajman University, Ajman, UAE

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Raghad Hashim
Department of Growth and Development, College of Dentistry, Ajman University, Ajman
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ejgd.ejgd_38_18

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Aims: The aims of this study were to investigate dentists' level of knowledge and experience regarding child physical abuse in the United Arab Emirates, to identify barriers that prevent the reporting of suspected cases by dental practitioners, and to assess the need for training dentists in child protection. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 124 dentists working in private practice in the Emirate of Dubai; the data were collected by self-administered structured questionnaires. Data were analyzed using descriptive analyses for responses to each question. Results: Of all general dental practitioners invited to participate, only 70% have responded. Almost one-quarter of the dentists encountered a suspicious child abuse case at least once in their career, but only 30% of those reported their suspicion. The most common barriers that preclude the dentists from reporting child abuse cases were uncertainty about their diagnosis, lack of knowledge regarding referral procedures, followed by the fear of violence in the family toward the child. However, the majority of the participants were aware of their legal responsibilities toward protecting children from abuse and they expressed their need for further training in this area. Conclusions: Based on the results of this study, it appears that the level of knowledge among the respondents regarding the recognition and reporting of child physical abuse was lacking. Therefore, specialized training in this area is highly recommended.

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