The physician's role in recognizing physical abuse of children

Matija Mikulić, Kristina Jurišić


Physicians are in frequent and regular contact with children and families through regular check-ups of pregnant women, newborns, and children of preschool and school-age. Therefore, physicians are in a unique position to effectively detect risk or detect abuse and neglect in good time and initiate the process of providing assistance to protect the child and allow him/her recovery and further undisturbed development. This paper discusses definitions of physical abuse, risk factors and the most common forms of physical abuse, the differences between accidental and non-accidental injuries, and the protocol for professional action in cases of child abuse.

Conclusion - Physical abuse of children is a common occurrence, and it carries a significant morbidity and mortality rate. Given that abuse often has a transgenerational character, early recognition and intervention with at-risk families have a preventive character in relation to the next generation.


Physical abuse; Children; Physician's role

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