European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 301–305 | Cite as

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

  • R. HashimEmail author
  • A. Al-Ani
Original Scientific Article



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


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.


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.


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.


Child physical abuse Knowledge Dental students UAE 



The authors would like to thank all the dental students who participated in this study.


  1. Al-Jundi SH, Zawaideh F, Al-Rawi M. Jordanian dental students’ knowledge and attitudes in regard to child physical abuse. J Dent Educ. 2010;74(10):1159–64.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Cairns AM, Mok JY, Welbury RR. Injuries to the head, face, mouth and neck in physically abused children in a community setting. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2005a;15:310–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cairns AM, Mok JY, Welbury RR. The dental practitioner and child protection in Scotland. Br Dent J. 2005b;199(8):517–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dupare R, Kumar P, Datta S, Dupare A. Identifying the dirty secret of child abuse through dentistry. Indian J Forensic Odontol. 2012;5(1):11–6.Google Scholar
  5. Harris JC, Sidebotham PD, Welbury RR. Safeguarding children in dental practice. Dent Update. 2007;34:508–17.Google Scholar
  6. Kassebaum DK, Dove SB, Cottone JA. Recognition and reporting of child abuse: a survey of dentists. Gen Dent. 1991;39(3):159–62.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Lazenbatt A, Freeman R. Recognizing and reporting child physical abuse: a survey of primary health care professionals. J Adv Nurs. 2006;56(3):227–36.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Manea S, Favero G, Stellini E, et al. Dentists’ perceptions, attitudes, knowledge, and experience about child abuse and neglect in northeast Italy. J Clin Pediatr Dent. 2007;32(1):19–25.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Owais AI, Qudemait MA, Qodceih S. Dentists’ involvement in identification and reporting of child physical abuse: Jordan as a case study. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2009;19:291–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ramoz-Gomez F, Rothman D, Blain S. Knowledge and attitude among California dental care providers regarding child abuse and neglect. J Am Dent Assoc. 1998;129(3):340–8.Google Scholar
  11. Sonbol HN, Abu-Ghazaleh S, Rajab LD, et al. Knowledge, educational experiences and attitudes towards child abuse amongst Jordanian dentists. Eur J Dent Educ. 2012;16(1):158–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Thomas J, Straffon L, Inglehart MR. Child abuse and neglect: dental and dental hygiene students’ educational experiences and knowledge. J Dent Educ. 2006a;70(5):558–65.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Thomas J, Straffon L, Inglehart MR. Knowledge and professional experiences concerning child abuse: an analysis of provider and student responses. Pediatr Dent. 2006b;28(5):89–95.Google Scholar
  14. Welbury RR, Murphy JM. Dental practitioners’ role in protecting chidren from abuse: 2. The orofacial signs of physical abuse. Br Dent J. 1998;184:61–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Welbury RR, MacAskill SG, Murphy JM, et al. General dental practitioners’ perception of their role within child protection: a qualitative study. Eur J Paediatr Dent. 2003;4(2):89–95.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ajman University of Science and Technology, Emirate of AjmanAjmanUAE
  2. 2.Department of Growth and DevelopmentAjman UniversityAjmanUAE

Personalised recommendations