Patterns of reporting to child protection services in Canada by healthcare and nonhealthcare professionals

Tonmyr, Lil, Li, Y. Anita, Williams, Gabriella, & Scott, Deborah A. (2010) Patterns of reporting to child protection services in Canada by healthcare and nonhealthcare professionals. Paediatrics and Child Health, 15(8), pp. 25-32.

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All Canadian jurisdictions require certain professionals to report suspected or observed child maltreatment. This study examined the types of maltreatment, level of harm and child functioning issues, controlling for family socioeconomic status, age and gender of the child reported by healthcare and non-healthcare professionals.


We conducted chi-square analyses and logistic regression on a national child welfare sample from the 2003 Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS-2003) and compared the differences in professional reporting with its previous cycle (CIS-1998) using Bonferroni-corrected confidence intervals.


Our analysis of CIS-2003 data revealed that the majority of substantiated child maltreatment is reported to service agencies by non-healthcare professionals (57%), followed by non-professionals (33%) and healthcare professionals (10%). The number of professional reports increased 2.5 times between CIS-1998 and CIS-2003, while non-professionals’ increased 1.7 times. Of the total investigations, professional reports represented 59% in CIS-1998 and 67% in CIS-2003 (p<0.001). Compared to non-healthcare professionals, healthcare professionals more often reported younger children, children who experienced neglect and emotional maltreatment and those assessed as suffering harm and child functioning issues, but less often exposure to domestic violence.


The results indicate that healthcare professionals played an important role in identifying children in need of protection considering harm and other child functioning issues. The authors discuss the reasons why underreporting is likely to remain an issue.

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13 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 29475
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Child Maltreatment, Reporting Practices, Canadian Incidence Study
ISSN: 1205-7088
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Research Centres > National Centre for Health Information Research & Training
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Pulsus Group Inc.
Deposited On: 04 Jan 2010 22:20
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2013 01:38

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