Many child abuse cases in Qatar go unreported because healthcare workers do not have the training and experience to identify cases, according to experts at the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
The HMC received 120 child abuse cases last year, but the actual number could be much higher. All the 120 cases were referred to the HMC by the Qatar Foundation for Protection of Women and Children (QFCWP).
Most cases involved physical or sexual abuse, but incidents of psychological abuse are rarely reported.
Psychological or emotional abuse refers to behaviour that may result in psychological trauma including anxiety and chronic depression.
“We see these (child abuse) cases on a regular basis. Sometimes it’s very difficult to identify. Last year, 120 cases were reported by the QFCWP to the Hamad General Hospital, but it does not indicate that all cases have been reported. Some cases can be minor and that is why they are ignored. Psychological abuse is also neglected. Only sexual and physical abuse is normally reported,” said Dr Khalid Alsaadi Alyafei, consultant at Paediatric Emergency of HMC, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on child abuse at the Four Seasons hotel yesterday.
The seminar was organised as part of the Kulluna health and safety campaign aimed at creating awareness on the issue among healthcare workers at HMC.
“Depriving children from vaccination, preventing them from going to school and other form of negligence are also considered abuse,” he added.
Child abuse cases can be identified mainly by looking at the injuries. Sometimes doctors or nurses become suspicious, leading to further investigations.
Of the 54 cases treated at the Paediatric Emergency of HMC over the past five years, 53 percent were girls. And 22 percent of the victims were Qataris. The victims were between one- and-half months and 12 years, said Dr Khalid Al Ansari, director of Paediatric Emergency.
An average of 58 percent of victims were physically abused, 9 percent were neglected, 11 percent sexually abused and 15 percent were subject to psychological abuse.
Source : Qatar Chronicle
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