, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 301-305

Child physical abuse: assessment of dental students’ attitudes and knowledge in United Arab Emirates

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Abstract

Aim

To investigate dental students’ educational experience, attitudes and knowledge with regard to child physical abuse in all dental schools in United Arab Emirates.

Methods

The data were collected by self-administered structured questionnaire completed by 578 under graduate dental students in four (all) dental schools in United Arab Emirates. Data were analysed using descriptive analyses for responses to each question.

Results

The results indicated that there was lack of knowledge of reporting procedure, signs of physical abuse and social indicators among all respondents. Over 80 % of the students agreed that dentists should be legally mandated to report abuse cases and a high percentage (94.3 %) of the participants believed they had an ethical duty to report child abuse. Most students indicated that their dental school was the main source of information on this topic. The majority of the respondents expressed a need for further training.

Conclusions

Dental students were not sufficiently prepared to know what to look for when they suspect child abuse and what to actually do when they encounter this problem in a professional setting. To provide better care for these young domestic violence victims, dental schools’ curriculum modifications should focus on providing students with concrete educational experiences regarding child abuse cases.