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Protection of Children from Neglect and Abuse: Gaps in Current Legislation

Child Abuse & Neglect (CAN) is a worldwide public and social health problem, which exerts a multitude of long term and short term effects on children. The result of children’s exposure to child maltreatment includes elevated levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, mental as well as health concerns, like anxiety, depression, etc. A well outlined epidemiologic, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study revealed: “a high chance of heart disease in adult survivors of children, after correcting for the race, age, smoking & diabetes and education.”[1] Several developed countries of the world have well-evolved child protection systems, primarily focused on mandatory identification, reporting and investigations of affected children, and often taking coercive action. Notifications have posed a burden on families and the system. In these contexts, the problems of child abuse and Neglect in India need severe and more extensive consideration, particularly among the underprivileged rural and urban communities, where child protection systems are not developed—or do not reach. The motive of the present article is to provide an outline of child abuse and neglect from a medical assessment to a socio-legal outlook in India, to ensure a comprehensive and prompt multidisciplinary response to victims of child neglect and abuse. In the course of their busy clinical practice, medical professionals can also make use of the telephone helpline (CHILDLINE telephone 1098) to refer to cases of child abuse, thus connecting them to socio-legal services.

[1] Narendra Saini, Child Abuse and Neglect in India: Time to act 8.

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Child Abuse & Neglect (CAN) is a worldwide public and social health problem, which exerts a multitude of long term and short term effects on children. The result of children’s exposure to child maltreatment includes elevated levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, mental as well as health concerns, like anxiety, depression, etc. A well outlined epidemiologic, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study revealed: “a high chance of heart disease in adult survivors of children, after correcting for the race, age, smoking & diabetes and education.”[1] Several developed countries of the world have well-evolved child protection systems, primarily focused on mandatory identification, reporting and investigations of affected children, and often taking coercive action. Notifications have posed a burden on families and the system. In these contexts, the problems of child abuse and Neglect in India need severe and more extensive consideration, particularly among the underprivileged rural and urban communities, where child protection systems are not developed—or do not reach. The motive of the present article is to provide an outline of child abuse and neglect from a medical assessment to a socio-legal outlook in India, to ensure a comprehensive and prompt multidisciplinary response to victims of child neglect and abuse. In the course of their busy clinical practice, medical professionals can also make use of the telephone helpline (CHILDLINE telephone 1098) to refer to cases of child abuse, thus connecting them to socio-legal services.

[1] Narendra Saini, Child Abuse and Neglect in India: Time to act 8.

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