The Gap Between Health Care and Child Abuse

The disparity gap between health care and child abuse has the potential to impact a professional’s life in an emotional way. Besides legal practices and the training undergone to protect a child from child abuse, professionals have gone through previous studies that have determined the emotional and psychological doubts that professionals go through at the time to report child abuse. The three research papers that I have chosen that contribute to the fact are, “Violence against children: the routine of the professionals in the primary health care” (Josiane et al.

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, 2016), “Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Community Health Workers Regarding Child Abuse in Tabriz Health Centers in 2015-2016.” (Mohammad, Seyedeh, Mina, & Seyed, 2017), as well as “Challenges of reporting child abuse by health care professionals: A narrative view” (Marzieh & Zohreh, 2017). I will be identifying why being emotionally and psychologically affected by child abuse is a disparity in the health care field and ways in which we can adjust or better educate or professional health care providers.

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In the first article, “Violence against children: the routine of the professionals in the primary health care” (Josiane et al., 2016). Speeches from different health care providers where provided, these health care providers have gone through an emotional experience which lead to a construction of two themes, “Professionals facing cases of violence against children; between reason and emotion; Integration of health services, education, justice, and community: opportunities and challenges for addressing violence against children.” (Josiane et al., 2016)

For the first theme by Josiane et al., 2016, “Professionals facing cases of violence against children; between reason and emotion” the professional health care worker speech stated “…I felt: embarrassment, anger, insecurity, powerlessness, eager to act without knowing how. Fear of interfering in the personal lives of families and “reprisal” for it [by parents]” (Josiane et al., 2016). Although she had the knowledge and the preparation to help this child she felt intimidated by the situation, indicating how suspenseful it must be to confront the abuser eye to eye. In the second theme by Josiane et al., 2017 “Integration of health services, education, justice, and community: opportunities and challenges for addressing violence against children” another professional health care speeches indicated a way to protect and educated our community by “Activities to combat stress, expand awareness and improve self-esteem; violence in our actions and attitudes is only a reflection of the inner imbalance and the way we are living” (Josiane et al., 2016). I believe this is a great way to protect the children and enhance a better community as well as mental health awareness. This could provide the support needed and enhance a trusting relationship between the communities.

In the second article, “Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Community Health Workers Regarding Child Abuse in Tabriz Health Centers in 2015-2016” (Mohammad, Seyedeh, Mina, Seyed, 2017) states that professionals had a “…poor performance in dealing with child abuse. This may be due to fear of side issues to deal with child abuse, or lack of clear legal guidelines regarding this” it seems as legal issues is a big portion of the problem, seems as if they had to choose between saving a child or get sued for inappropriately accusing someone for child abuse when they believe it is happening at home. In fact a study indicated that “60 percent of physicians and nurses had inadequate knowledge regarding child abuse” (Mohammad, Seyedeh, Mina, Seyed, 2017) it seems like absence of proper education is a big part of the problem as well as lack of interest in learning the signs of child abuse.

Furthermore Mohammand, Seyedeh, Mina, and Seyed, 2017 stated that health care providers don’t report child abuse because of “the fear of violence against children, fear of litigation, fear of family violence against them, lack of knowledge about referrals, and lack of certainty about the diagnosis of child abuse” although a lot of the providers in this study are educated unlike the other two articles and have gain knowledge of the signs as well as they have a good attitude to deal with child abuse cases and are prepared but they have yet to the feeling of powerlessness when it comes to child abuse.

Last but not least my third article, “Challenges of reporting child abuse by health care professionals: A narrative view” (Marzieh & Zohreh, 2017). Indicated that “….reporting of child abuse by healthcare professionals is affected by multiple factors such as individual, interpersonal, organizational, and situational factors….” (Marzieh & Zohreh, 2017). As indicated health care providers have many reason to why reporting child abuse is difficult in many ways. Here is a breakdown of how child abuse affects emotionally and physiologically many different health care providers:

Some individual barriers include “…health care professionals’ inadequate knowledge of the laws which stipulate the reporting of child abuse is a decisive factor in their failure to comply with such results” (Marzieh & Zohreh, 2017). In this case the laws of health care are not as simple and there is a slight chance that they won’t go their way, because of this physicians and/or nurses won’t take that step.

Interpersonal barriers“Mandatory reporting by healthcare professionals also causes parents to avoid bringing their children to receive medical treatment in case of future abuse” (Marzieh & Zohreh, 2017). If the patient stops coming to the hospital they will have no way of identify if the child is at risk or if the child is in good hands. Preventing to drive away the parents seems to be the only way to keep an eye out on the child.

Organizational barriers “Some healthcare professionals believed they were not supported by social services and medical jurisprudence, and they viewed reporting child abuse a stressful factor in their current job” (Marzieh & Zohreh, 2017). If the professional healthcare provider has tried to protect a child and the social services didn’t back him up or he/she felt as if his diagnosis was not correct he will withdraw from trying to help other children since the first time was unsuccessful.

Situational barriers “A study showed that achieving sufficient evidence to confirm the incidence of child abuse is not always easy so that in many cases doctors discover the incidence of child abuse, but because of the difficultly in collecting evidence, they avoid reporting it” (Marzieh & Zohreh, 2017). Not only do social services not back up professionals but they also put pressure on them to find evidence of child abuse in order to have a proper case file in some cases.

Although professional healthcare providers have their reasons to avoid reporting child abuse it would be ideal to save and even educate children as well as adults the negative outcomes that come with child abuse. Education is the key to knowledge and making a difference in the world by providing a safer community and a better future for those children. Even though professional health care providers spend years studying and learning new material it seems as the health care community is missing a big part of the education which is to understand their legal rights and communication with social workers and how they can work together if necessary to help an abusive child live a better and loving life.

I believe that this disparity does not pose any barrier to graduating nurses as long as they have the education and knowledge to provide help and report what has been seen or is believe do be child abuse. Not only that they should be educated but also understand that every health care professional can change the child’s life and to communicate with the physicians what they have encountered, if they have an art for what they do they will know what to do in their heart.

In New York State only we have a statistic of “7.4 million child abuse reports. 3.5 million Children received prevention & post-response services. 143,866 children received foster care services. 74.8% of victims are neglected. 18.2% of victims are physically abused. Highest rate of child abuse in children under age one (24.8% per 1,000). Over one-quarter (28.5%) of victims are younger than 3 years. Annual estimate: 1,750 children died from abuse and neglect in 2016. Almost five children die every day from child abuse.78.0% of child fatalities involve at least one parent.70.0% of child fatalities are under the age of 3. 74.6% of the child abuse victims die from neglect. 44.2% of the child abuse victims die from physical abuse. 49.4% of children who die from child abuse are under one year” (“Statistic”, 2018) All these statistics are happening right now because of the lack of knowledge and fear. It is said that children who are abused as children tend to do the same to their future kids. But with the upcoming graduates we hope that fear is not a barrier to protect our children and safe a child life.

After this research paper I feel like I have gained knowledge and awareness of my surroundings as well as understanding of the difficult situations that will be approaching my future carrier. Although it will be difficult to overcome some fears I will make sure that I understand my rights and what I can do to in and out of the hospital. It is super important to communicate and let our emotions and psychological thoughts be know, ask questions and make sure that we are able to surpass what we find fearsome.


  1. Azizi, M., & Shahhosseini, Z. (2017). Challenges of reporting child abuse by healthcare professionals: A narrative review. Journal of Nursing & Midwifery Sciences, 4(3), 110– 116.[_]3_17
  2. Child Abuse Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. Nunes Maia, J., Aparecida Pimenta Ferrari, R., Lopes Gabani, F., Grubisich Mendes Tacla, M. T., Bastos dos Reis, T., & Camilo Fernandes, M. L. (2016). Violence against children: the routine of the professionals in the primary health care. Revista Da Rede de Enfermagem Do Nordeste, 17(5), 593–601. 6783.2016000500003
  4. Sahebihagh, M. H., Hosseini, S. Z., Hosseinzadeh, M., & Shamshirgaran, S. M. (2017). Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Community Health Workers Regarding Child Abuse in Tabriz Health Centers in 2015-2016. International Journal of Community Based Nursing & Midwifery, 5(3), 264–274. Retrieved from
  5. 45c5-b204-b11671628b42%40sessionmgr4008

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The Gap Between Health Care and Child Abuse. (2022, Jan 10). Retrieved from

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