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vol.20 issue1Study about domestic violence against children in primary health care units in São Paulo - BrazilBetween coldness, calculation and "crazy life": violence and suffering in an adolescent's trajectory while complying with a social-educational measure author indexsubject indexarticles search
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Saúde e Sociedade

Print version ISSN 0104-1290


ANDRADE, Elisa Meireles et al. Health professionals' views about domestic violence against children and teenagers: a qualitative study. Saude soc. [online]. 2011, vol.20, n.1, pp.147-155. ISSN 0104-1290.

Domestic violence is one of the most difficult topics to be dealt with by health professionals. We aimed, in this research, to understand the experience of health professionals concerning domestic violence against children and teenagers, describing the identification of the cases and the aid offered to the victims in the Unidades Básicas de Saúde (UBS - Primary Health Care Units). The techniques were participant observation, focus groups and semi-structured interviews conducted at two UBSs in the city of Embu, one of the most violent regions of Brazil, located in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo. According to the results, the professionals said they have several difficulties in tackling the question of violence, such as fear of getting involved with criminal people, lack of protection in the UBSs and the relatives' lack of commitment. The fear of assuming legal obligations makes it difficult for the professionals to have attitudes in order to assist the victims. One of the reasons for their denunciation difficulty would be the reproduction of cultural standards in which physical punishment is accepted as an educational practice. Besides, they seem not to feel responsible or qualified to deal with the problem. The professionals of Embu, in a certain way, reproduce the same values and attitudes of the community in relation to violence, conniving at the silence of the families, avoiding commitment to the cases and not believing in the institutions that are responsible for children's protection. It was clear that the problem of domestic violence against children and teenagers is not easy to deal with. The assistance offered to the victims is restricted, mainly due to the professionals' difficulties in handling the social-cultural characteristics of the population and to the lack of dialogue with the institutions that are responsible for referring the cases. The approach, referral and treatment of children and teenagers who are victims of physical violence can be more effective when the health services are in close contact with the daily life of the population.

Keywords : Health Professionals; Violence; Qualitative Study; Children; Teenagers.

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