Qatar doctors encouraged to report suspected cases of child abuse at home

July 6, 2010

Doctors in Qatar have been told to report suspected cases of child abuse at home after they confirm them by using a specific line of questioning.

“Although we do not have data on child abuse in Qatar, we know that it does exist in our society,” Dr Khalid Al Saadi, from the Paediatrics Department at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), said. “The main objective of the workshop we are conducting is to increase staff awareness about the presence of child abuse. Participants were briefed about the management plans in place to deal with child abuse cases and the subsequent follow-up,” he said. 

The workshop on child abuse and neglect focused on the role of medical staff in reporting child abuse cases, medical examination of children and the legal procedures to be followed at the hospital.

Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar paediatrics adjunct professor Dr Marcellina Mian highlighted ways to define suspected child abuse and neglect and the medical signs and symptoms that should be carefully observed before reporting a case of child abuse.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) definition of child abuse includes physical, emotional, psychological abuse, all of which affect a child’s development and dignity,” Dr Mian said, quoted by Qatari daily Gulf Times. “The medical staff should observe whether the injuries suffered by children match with the explanation. Bruises, fractures, burn marks and other injuries, which appear abnormal, need further examination. Medical staff should be well versed with the line of questioning to confirm a suspected case of child abuse at home.”

HMC has also set up a Support Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Programme aimed at extending due care and support to affected children, while protecting their rights to a safer environment at home.

“Currently we have a plan in place at HMC to deal with suspected child abuse cases,” Dr Khaled Al Ansari, Al Saad Paediatric Emergency Centre chairman, said. “The role of the social worker is crucial. He or she has to co-ordinate with the on-call social worker at Qatar Foundation for the matter to be further reported to the interior ministry for legal action.”

However, he insisted that it was highly significant to maintain privacy and confidentiality in child abuse cases and to be vigilant when a suspect child comes for treatment either at the hospital, paediatric emergency centres or at the public health centres.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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