Child abuse screening doesn't work, hundreds of cases missed: expert

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(Photo: Ranveig/Dodo / Wikimedia Commons). ((Photo: Ranveig/Dodo / Wikimedia Commons))

The mandatory screening for child abuse that doctors in the Netherlands have to do is so ineffective that it should be abolished, according to pediatrician and professor of social pediatrics Elise van Putte, also the chairman of the National Expertise Center for Child Abuse. The questionnaires not only lead to unjustified accusations, but also miss hundreds of abused kids, she said at the annual convention on domestic violence, the Volkskrant reports.

This compulsory screening was introduced in 2011. Doctors work with questionnaires, which have not yet been scientifically tested, to determine whether a physical injury on a child is the result of abuse. A PhD study by Maartje Schouten previously found that the best known questionnaire 'Sputvamo' led to many unjust suspicious - 92 out of every 100 accusations were unjustified

On Thursday Van Putte revealed that the screening also misses hundreds of child abuse incidents. The same screening of 55 thousand children led to only 9 reports to domestic violence center Veilig Thuis. 478 children from that same group were later reported to Veilig Thuis via a different route. 

Van Putte therefore proposes that the compulsory broad screening be abolished in favor of better training for al those involved on signals they have to be alert to. 

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