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Maltreatment: study from the perspective of the police department for the frotection of the child and the adolescent in Salvador, Bahia

Ana Clara de Rebolças Carvalho Sandra Garrido de Barros Alessandra Castro Alves Clarissa Araújo Gurgel About the authors

This cross-sectional study describes the occurrences of maltreatment recorded over three years (1997-1999) in a Brazilian Police Department for the Protection of the Child and the Adolescent. Socio-demographic and physical data of victims, aggressors and denouncers were investigated in a sample consisting of 2073 cases. The victims were aged between 0-18 years, of which 56.1% were girls. Data were entered into EPI INFO 2000 software and analyzed using descriptive statistics and chi-square test to determine significant differences (p<0.05). All manifestations of abuse, except physical abuse, tend to occur more frequently in females, and tend to be more prevalent in the 11-to-15 year-old subgroup. Physical abuse was the most common offense (64.7%). Injuries of face and jaw were found in 65.3% of the cases. Most of the aggressors were males (71.8%). There was a positive correlation between gender (female) and sexual abuse. Physical violence against boys was more intensive, as indicated by the presence of more severe body lesions. Health professionals should increase their diagnostic skills and raise the awareness of their communities to take action for reducing the incidence and the impact of violence upon children and adolescents.

Child abuse; Physical abuse; Face and jaw injuries

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