Child abuse is any form of maltreatment by an adult that is deleterious to a child’s well-being.
Abuse of children can be:
1) Active (physical, sexual and/or psychological abuse)
2) Passive (neglect – physical, emotional, medical or educational)
Main risk factor is chronic illness. Other risk factors of the child are premature birth, multiple births and mental retardation. Characteristics of an abusive family include a single parent, young mothers at first pregnancy, lack of education and history of interpersonal violence.
Health care professionals have a responsibility (moral and legal) to report suspected child abuse to the relevant authority.
See podiatry arena thread
Battered child syndrome – child presents with fractures
Shaken infant syndrome – brain injuries from forceful shaking; commonest cause of intracranial injury <1 yr of age; often lack external signs. Indications that an injury may not have been accidental: • the history given does not match the clinical findings • the history/story changes with questioning • the history may be different from the two parents • delay in seeking help for the injury Role of the Podiatrist: • high index of suspicion • legal and moral obligation • use protocols • access resources available for referral • avoid psychosocial pressures not to be involved • avoid being overzealous International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) • www.ispcan.org • Support individuals and organizations A number of illnesses may sometime be mistaken for physical abuse – easy bruising (eg haemophilia, leukaemia, platelet dysfunction); skin diseases (eg blistering disorders, contact dermatitis); infections Manchausen Syndrome by Proxy: Type of child abuse in which the perpetrator (usually the mother) presents the child for medical care with the reporting of symptoms that do not occur. The child often undergoes unnecessary medical investigations and treatments. Symptoms usually disappear when seperated from the perpetrator. Toe Tourniquet syndrome – survey showed that this was erroneously considered a sign of intential harm