European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 172, Issue 2, pp 207–214 | Cite as

New hospital-based policy for children whose parents present at the ER due to domestic violence, substance abuse and/or a suicide attempt

  • Eva M. M. Hoytema van Konijnenburg
  • Tessa Sieswerda-Hoogendoorn
  • Sonja N. Brilleslijper-Kater
  • Johanna H. van der Lee
  • Arianne H. Teeuw
Original Article


Child maltreatment is a major social problem with many adverse consequences, and a substantial number of maltreated children are not identified by health care professionals. In 2010, in order to improve the identification of maltreated children in hospitals, a new hospital-based policy was developed in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This policy was adapted from another policy that was developed in The Hague, the Netherlands, in 2007. In the new Amsterdam policy, all adults presenting at the emergency department due to domestic violence, substance abuse, and/or a suicide attempt are asked whether they have any children in their care. If this is the case, parents are urged to visit the outpatient pediatric department together with all of their children. During this visit, problems are evaluated and voluntary referrals can be arranged to different care organizations. If parents refuse to cooperate, their children are reported to the Dutch Child Abuse Counseling and Reporting Centre. The two aims of this study are to describe (1) characteristics of the identified families and (2) the referrals made to different voluntary and involuntary care organizations during the first 2 years after implementation of the policy. Data were collected from medical records. One hundred and six children from 60 households were included, of which 68 children because their mother was a victim of domestic violence. Referrals to care organizations were arranged for 99 children, of which 67 on a voluntary basis. The Amsterdam policy seems successful in arranging voluntary support for the majority of identified children.


Domestic violence Child abuse Child welfare Social problems Emergency service Hospital 



This study was funded by Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland (a children's charity) and the city of Amsterdam.

Conflict of interest




Child Protective Services


Child Abuse Counseling and Reporting Centre, in Dutch: Advies en Meldpunt Kindermishandeling. This is part of the Dutch CPS and is not involved with legal steps


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva M. M. Hoytema van Konijnenburg
    • 1
  • Tessa Sieswerda-Hoogendoorn
    • 1
  • Sonja N. Brilleslijper-Kater
    • 1
  • Johanna H. van der Lee
    • 1
  • Arianne H. Teeuw
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsEmma Children’s Hospital/Academic Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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