The primary physician is obviously in a key position to spot potential child abuse. New laws in most states have helped simplify the investigation and reporting of suspected child abuse. Since the child abuser frequently attempts to conceal past episodes by using different medical facilities, cooperation among the medical centers can make it possible to cross reference patients who come for treatment of injuries and thereby help identify child abuse.
The identification of child abuse is one part of a child advocate’s responsibility. The family involved in the abuse needs attention in an effort to avoid further abuse of the same or another child, and in helping to establish some family stability. Effective professional involvement with parents who have abused their children has significantly reduced the rate of reoccurrence. Communities should be encouraged to develop a professional program to work with the family that abuses a child. With this aid the parents can find new means of coping with their feelings, thereby reducing the destructive tendencies in the environment.
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