Update in Child Maltreatment

  • Michelle G. K. Ward
  • Amy E. Ornstein
  • Tanya Deurvorst Smith
  • Karla Wentzel


A 3 month old is noted to have two small bruises on her arm.

A 15 month old presents with a humeral fracture from an unwitnessed fall.

A 2½ year old is non-verbal, aggressive, and noted to be dirty at a routine medical visit.

A 7 year old reports that her mother’s boyfriend likes to give her a massage in the shower.

A 10 year old tells his teacher that his father hit him with a belt last night for his poor grades.

A 15 year old is worried that she might have been sexually assaulted but can’t remember much about the party she was at the night before.

Child maltreatment (abuse and neglect) is a common problem and one that has long-term consequences for children’s physical, emotional, developmental and social health and well-being. Health care professionals have an ethical, and in many cases, legal obligation to assist children who may be affected by maltreatment. They are also in a unique position to identify maltreatment, explain its impact on the child, and help children and families confronted by these issues. However, many clinicians feel poorly prepared to do this accurately and effectively. This chapter will provide a practical approach for front-line clinicians seeing cases of child abuse and neglect.


Child maltreatment Child abuse Neglect Physical abuse Sexual abuse Sexual assault Head injury Bruising Fractures Burns 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle G. K. Ward
    • 1
    • 2
  • Amy E. Ornstein
    • 3
    • 4
  • Tanya Deurvorst Smith
    • 5
    • 6
  • Karla Wentzel
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of Child and Youth Protection, Department of PediatricsChildren’s Hospital of Eastern OntarioOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Associate professor, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsIWK Health CentreHalifaxCanada
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  5. 5.The Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) ProgramThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of NursingThe University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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