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Orthop Nurs. 1998 Jan-Feb;17(1):49-54; quiz 55-6.

Child abuse: assessment and intervention.

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Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, USA.


The National Statistics on Child Abuse and Neglect are staggering and rising despite a national objective to decrease domestic violence, of which child abuse is a part. More than 3 million children are abused each year. That figure represents 25 out of every 1,000 children being physically, sexually, or emotionally abused or neglected by their caretakers. It is important to note that 50% of abused children have an abused mother (American Medical Association, 1992). There are immediate as well as long-term sequelae of abuse including emotional and developmental problems, permanent injury, death, and perpetuation of abuse to the next generation. Since fractures are often part of the constellation of injuries seen in the abused child, orthopaedic nurses may encounter these children in a range of settings. Recognizing the signs of abuse is an important step for intervention on behalf of the child.

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