German dentists' knowledge about child abuse and neglect

Published: 15 September 2021| Version 2 | DOI: 10.17632/yttdj9n6rh.2
Sebastian Fox


Background Studies from several countries have shown that there is a lack of knowledge related to child protection among dentists and their teams. So far, there are no data available about the situation in Germany. Aim To describe the perception of the role of German dentists in terms of child abuse and neglect. Design A questionnaire previously used by other studies regarding the role of dentists in child protection was adapted to German terminology and provided online. The internet address has been shown in different German dentists’ association journals addressing dentists only. The participation was voluntary. Results A total of 251 (79.68%) dentists completed the questionnaire with valid data; 62.5% reported to have had a suspicion of child abuse or neglect. Of these, 21,7% had reported their suspicion to the social services. Dentists specialized in pediatric dentistry reported their suspicion more often. Most frequently reported barriers towards contacting social services were uncertainty about diagnosis, fear of violence towards the child and the lack of knowledge in terms of referral procedures. Most of the participants expressed a need for further education. Conclusions Dentists in Germany are not able to fill their role in child protection matters sufficiently and show a need for undergraduate and continuing postgraduate training



Friedrich-Schiller-Universitat Jena


Knowledge, Domestic Abuse, Child Neglect