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Ethical implications of child abuse for the health care professionals

Based upon some problems faced by health professionals in the care of abused children, this is a discussion of the ethical implications in family interventions aiming to protect these children. Accepting the prima facie principle that violence is morally wrong, some issues related to the children's rights as well as some ethical theories such as consequentialism, utilitarianism and deontology are discussed. The conclusion is that the protection of these children is morally justifiable and the maintenance of the families' unity should always be attempted.

Domestic violence; Professional family relations; Child abuse, sexual; Ethics; Attitude of health personnel

Faculdade de Saúde Pública da Universidade de São Paulo Avenida Dr. Arnaldo, 715, 01246-904 São Paulo SP Brazil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7985 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil