But far too little is known about the most effective strategies for healthcare professionals to adopt to safeguard children, say the authors.
A spate of child deaths as a result of abuse in the UK has pointed to the repeated failures of child protection. And the 2003 Laming Report into the death of Victoria Climbie called for better training and greater involvement of healthcare professionals.
The authors evaluated 21 research papers on child protection training for healthcare professionals and the procedures for managing cases of abuse, published between1994 and 2005.
From the evidence presented, the authors conclude that structured forms and checklists help healthcare professionals to record child protection issues more effectively and help raise awareness.
Certain types of training seemed to improved knowledge and attitudes and boosted the speed of response to child protection concerns, many of the studies describing innovative approaches to training were of poor quality, say the authors.
By and large, the effectiveness or otherwise of these programmes had not been thoroughly evaluated, and it was impossible to know of their impact on referral rates to child protection agencies or on the numbers of children known to have been abused.
"Formal evaluation of a variety of models for the delivery of this training is urgently needed," conclude the authors.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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