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Comparative Study
, 79 (5), 585-7

Child Abuse Reporting by Physicians

Comparative Study

Child Abuse Reporting by Physicians

F T Saulsbury et al. South Med J.


Despite the prominent role of physicians in the child abuse reporting statutes of all 50 states, there is little published information concerning child abuse reporting by physicians. Our study examines the number and type of child abuse reports originating from physicians compared to other reporting sources. Reports by physicians comprised only 8% of the total number of child abuse reports received in Virginia in 1983. Reports by physicians were founded more often than reports from any other source, however, so that physicians contributed 14% of the reports that were ultimately founded. When compared to reports by all other sources, physician reports contained a significantly greater proportion of cases of physical abuse (P less than .0001), but a smaller proportion of physical neglect (P less than .0001). Physicians appear to be reporting those types of abuse that they are in a unique position to observe.

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