Abuse and Neglect Facts

Abuse and neglect are an ever-increasing problem in today’s society. Dental professionals are frequently the first health care professional to render treatment to a maltreated individual, yet make few reports. Early recognition with timely reporting and referrals to appropriate agencies can help prevent more significant health consequences and even death in maltreated individuals.
Dentists and Dental Hygienists are mandated Reporters of abuse and neglect for children and vulnerable adults.+

• 10% of the reports made are from medical personnel

• Significantly less from Dental personnel

+U.S. DHHS, Administration for Children and Families, Administration of Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2010). Child Maltreatment 2009.

Child Abuse

Physical injury of a child by a parent or other person who has permanent or temporary custody or responsibility for a child, or by any household or family members, under circumstances that indicate that the child’s health or welfare is significantly harmed or at risk of being harmed; or sexual abuse of a child, whether physical injuries are sustained or not.

Identification of Dental Neglect : AAPD Definition
• Untreated, Rampant Caries
• Lack of continuity of care once informed
• Willful failure to seek and follow through with treatment to ensure oral health
• Untreated: pain, infection, bleeding, trauma

Immunity for reporting in good faith
Family Law 5-708:
Provides Immunity to “any person who makes or participates in making a report of (child) abuse or neglect under sec. 5-704 or sec. 5-705 of this subtitle


Participates in an investigation or resulting judicial proceeding shall have the immunity described under sec. 5-620 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article from civil or criminal penalty.

Confidentiality for reporting
Human Services Article sec. 1-202…

States that information can only be released if:

“Provisions are made to comply with other State and Federal confidentiality laws and to protect the identity of the reporter or other person whose life or safety is likely to be endangered by the disclosure.”

Privileged Communication

Ethical Responsibility

American Dental Association: Principles of Ethics & Code of Professional Conduct

Failure to Report has consequences:
• Painful physical, cognitive and emotional effects
• Victim becomes an adult offender

Domestic Violence

Over 3 million children
• 69% Witness
• More than 60% are also victims
• 90% under 10
• 64% under 2
U.S. DHHS, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2010) Child Maltreatment, 2009

• 1.5 million women physically, sexually abused by an intimate partner yearly in the U.S.
• 1 in 5 female high school students reports physical or sexual abuse by a dating partner
• 1 out of 4 U.S. women have been physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner
• 1 out of 14 U.S. men reported
Department of Justice, Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) August 2001,National Violence Against Women Survey

Elder Abuse

• Half are over 80
• Only 1 in 14 abuse incidents comes to the attention of the authorities
Bonnie, R.J. & Wallace, R.B., Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America (2002),National Center on Elder Abuse.


Did you know…
Human Trafficking is abuse and neglect; therefore, Dental Professionals need to be educated on this growing form of human maltreatment

• Fastest growing criminal industry in the world
• Second largest criminal industry in the world
• Modern form of slavery

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