Clinical response to child abuse presentations in the Vietnamese hospital emergency setting

SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Interpersonal Violence: concerned with the study and treatment of victims and perpetrators of physical and sexual violence, 2020, 35, (21-22), pp. 4216-4238
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Ongoing fiscal stability has enabled the National Assembly in Vietnam to turn its attention to improving the health and well-being of women and children. Training pediatric health care professionals in the recognition and response to child abuse presentations in the emergency setting has the potential to improve outcomes for the disproportionate number of vulnerable children presenting to the emergency setting with nonaccidental injuries. This study explored the training needs and expectations of the staff preparing to undertake such a clinical training program. This qualitative study is based on semistructured interviews with 16 clinicians from the emergency setting of a leading pediatric hospital in Vietnam. Interview questions focused on current practice in recognizing and responding to child abuse and neglect presentations, the level of training and experience of participants, and subjective reports of confidence in recognizing abuse. Interviews were conducted in English and Vietnamese, with check-translation of transcripts performed by an independent translator. A culture of collegiality and innovative workplace practices was revealed. Analysis revealed two overarching themes that were related to the need for evidence, forensic analysis, respecting families, and consultation. Despite participant confidence in recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect presentations, knowledge deficits were found. This article presents a critical analysis of the context within which the first evidence-based clinical training program of its kind in Vietnam was developed and implemented in a pediatric children’s hospital. Clinicians felt a strong moral obligation to protect children from further harm, however encountered a number of barriers inhibiting this process. Findings significantly shaped the Safe Children Vietnam training program and will also contribute to the development of protocols and improvement of community support services at the study site.
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