Child Sexual Abuse-Perceptions among Health Professionals in a Tertiary Setting SC01-SC04
Ms. Simi Mohan Jayamohana Sumam,
Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing, C.S.I. College of Nursing, Dr. S.M.C.S.I. Medical College, Karakonam, Kerala, India.
Introduction: Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is one of the India’s largest open social secret that leaves enormous physiological and psychological impact on the health and development of children. It is a complex and context-bound phenomenon that exists in every society, but perceptions about it may vary among lay persons, teachers and health professionals.
Aim: This study was aimed at understanding the perceptions of health professionals on child sexual abuse in a tertiary setting in the southern state of India.
Materials and Methods: In a descriptive cross sectional study, 185 health professionals including doctors and nurses in a tertiary setting were enrolled. A self-administered questionnaire which was developed by the researcher (content validity index: 0.8) along with demographic profile sheet to assess the perceptions of health professionals on child sexual abuse was used. Data analysis was done by descriptive and inferential statistics using SPSS 16.0 software and p-value of <0.05 was considered to be significant.
Results: Majority of the participants (82.7%) agreed that girls are at increased risk of being abused, and belong to the teenage group (62.2%). A good proportion of health professionals agreed that the perpetrators are usually male (65.9%) aged between 15-35 years (48.6%). Appearing in the court for legal proceedings (50.8%) and the after effect of child being stigmatized in the society (64.9%) were found to be significant barriers in reporting child sexual abuse. Majority (85.9%) of them perceived that the adult should take responsibility of the protection of children and 86.5% of them agreed that children should be taught about “good touch” and “bad touch” as preventive strategy in child sexual abuse.
Conclusion: The present study has shown that perceptions on child sexual abuse vary among health professionals. Though they are aware about the risk factors, perpetrator characteristics, preventive strategies, still barriers in reporting child sexual abuse exists.