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Child Abuse Manual

NCJ Number
A Taylor
Date Published
101 pages
The role of nurses (especially in Canada) in identifying, reporting, and preventing child abuse is described.
Definitions of child abuse and neglect are supplied, and possible indicators of abused and neglected children are listed. Physically abused children may have bruises, burns, lacerations, abrasions, and internal injuries; they may lack curiosity, be overly compliant, and be excessively self-controlled. Neglected children may lack adequate nutrition, adequate supervision, and appropriate clothing for the season; they may appear tired, apathetic, and may not want to return home. Emotionally abused children may be over- or under-active, may run away from home, and may verbalize their inability to succeed. Sexually abused children may have difficulty in walking or sitting and may complain of chronic stomach pains or of constant sore throats; their behavior may be seductive, and they may fear being left alone. Ways that nurses may identify families at high risk of abuse are considered; warning signs during the prenatal, intranatal, and postpartum periods are delineated. Hints for enhancing parent-infant bonding are provided, and ways to prevent child neglect through safety are outlined. Nurses' legal responsibility to report child maltreatment is discussed, and a protocol for handling cases of suspected child abuse is provided. The legal aspects of child abuse management are addressed, with attention to the roles of lawyers and the police. Guidelines are provided for testifying in court and for charting (recordkeeping) in suspected child abuse cases. Guidelines for planning programs to educate health professionals about child abuse and neglect are supplied. Two bibliographies (one annotated) cite 75 references; appendixes list additional resources.