Dental health care providers’ views on child physical abuse in Malaysia
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To assess the knowledge, attitudes and experience of a group of Malaysian dental health care providers regarding child physical abuse (CPA) cases in terms of frequency of occurrence, diagnosis, risk factors and reporting.
A questionnaire was distributed to all dental health care providers attending a national paediatric dentistry conference in Kuantan, Malaysia, and demographical variables, knowledge, attitudes and experience about CPA, risk factors and the reasons for not reporting abuse cases were collected. Descriptive statistics and bivariance analysis were performed. A 5 % level of statistical significance was applied for the analyses (p ≤ 0.05).
The response rate was 74.7 %. Half of the respondents (52.8 %) stated that the frequency of occurrence of CPA is common in Malaysia. Full agreement between dental health care providers was not determined concerning the identification of signs of CPA and its risk factors. Although 83.3 % were aware that reporting CPA is a legal requirement in Malaysia, only 14.8 % have reported such cases. Lack of adequate history was the main reason for not reporting. Virtually two-thirds of the respondents (62 %) indicated that they had not received sufficient information about CPA and were willing to be educated on how to diagnose and report child abuse cases (81.5, 78.7 %, respectively).
There were considerable disparities in respondents’ knowledge and attitudes regarding the occurrence, signs of suspected cases, risk factors and reporting of CPA. Despite being aware of such cases, only a handful was reported. Enhancement in the education of Malaysian dental health care providers on recognising and reporting CPA is recommended.
KeywordsChild physical abuse Dental staff Knowledge Malaysia
The authors would like to thank the respondents for their participation in this survey. Sincere thanks to the organising Chairman of the conference Dr. Ganasalingam Sockalingam for his support to conduct this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
This study was NOT funded.
Conflict of interest
We declare that we have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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