General practitioners’ recognition and management of child abuse: what is going well and what could be improved?

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

In the Netherlands, child abuse affects about 100.000 children resulting in at least 17 child fatalities a year. General practitioners’ (GPs) health care position is of vital importance for recognising and managing child abuse. In this Clinical Lesson, using three illustrating cases, we discuss how GPs’ suspicion of child abuse may arise including the role of gut feelings, and what the mandatory national guideline on child abuse means for the follow-up. We also clarify the role of the Dutch Child Abuse Counselling and Reporting Centre (CACRC) in the process. A first lesson is that any doubts about child abuse should lead to action because diagnostic failure has serious consequences for vulnerable children. A second lesson is that asking CACRC for anonymous advice how to deal with a situation may certainly have added value. Finally, we advise CACRC to invest in building a relationship of trust with the collaborating partners.

For the Dutch text see