Jornal de Pediatria
Print version ISSN 0021-7557
FERREIRA, Ana L. Follow-up of child abuse victims: challenges for the pediatrician. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2005, vol.81, n.5, suppl., pp. s173-s180. ISSN 0021-7557. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572005000700007.
OBJECTIVE: To review practical questions about the initial assistance and follow-up of child abuse victims and their families by pediatricians. SOURCES OF DATA: A literature review was carried out using the MEDLINE and LILACS databases, including the years 2000 to 2005. Some articles from past years and books were included due to their importance. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS: Initial assistance is one of the most important actions by health professionals for the protection of abused children in different healthcare sectors (community, outpatient clinics, emergency rooms and infirmary), and it is fundamental for the reduction of immediate and long-term negative consequences of violence. The protection services cannot monitor all the families under their responsibility and most child abuse cases are not even reported to those institutions; therefore, regular follow-up by a pediatrician is advisable. It is important to provide the family with support and guidance until the child is safe. The main challenges are: to be involved without causing more violence; to consider all the family as the focus of attention, including the family members who have committed the assault, helping them to change inadequate behaviors; to develop specific abilities to carry out this work, which must be multiprofessional, interdisciplinary and intersectoral. CONCLUSIONS: Families face difficulties when their children are abused and when the situation gains notoriety, demanding interventions from many institutions. In this process, a pediatrician can guide and help them to guarantee the protection and healthy development of their children. To overcome challenges, health professionals have to be technically and emotionally prepared.
Keywords : Child abuse; continuity of patient care.