Background: Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) is a major health problem with serious consequences. Since health care professionals play an important role in identification, management, and reporting CAN cases, they should have precise knowledge on this subject. The aim of this study is to investigate the level of knowledge, attitude and practice of the pediatricians, pediatric residents, and nurses regarding CAN issues as well as their possible needs for any educational programs in this regard.
Methods: 130 pediatric nurses and physicians working at two pediatric tertiary centers, in Tehran, Iran participated in this descriptive cross-sectional study. An anonymous validated and standardized self-report questionnaire was used as the study instrument. The questionnaire consisted of five sections on demographic information, knowledge, attitude, practice and needs assessment. Analytical statistical tests including t-test, Kruskal–Wallis and Mann-Whitney tests were used to analyze the data.
Results: The level of the participants’ knowledge was moderate (mean score: 16.6±3.17) and their attitude towards child abuse and neglect was at a good level (mean score: 45.72 ±4.25). The results of this study revealed that the overall performance of the participants in dealing with a suspicious case of child abuse and neglect was moderate. Almost all participants (95.5%) indicated the need for educational programs on child abuse both for nurses and physicians.
Conclusion: Results of our study revealed that the overall knowledge, attitude, and practice of the health care professionals in the field of pediatrics regarding child abuse and neglect are not satisfactory and training programs on this issue are mandatory for pediatricians, pediatric residents, and nurses due to their serious role in caring for children.