Clinical protocol for abused children, adults soon

Clinical protocol for abused children, adults soon

A team of experts from Nitte (Deemed to be University) are working on a protocol for safeguarding vulnerable children and adults in India from oral and dental abuse and neglect.

Prof Chitta Ranjan Chowdhury, founding head of the Department of Oral Biology and Gnomic Studies of the A B Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences convened a preliminary meeting of the expert work-group.

The objective of the work-group is to develop a protocol for vulnerable and neglected groups.

Speaking to DH, Dr Chowdhury said: “We are trying to develop a protocol for management and referral of abused and vulnerable patients”.

“Dental professionals might find some signs on the face, head and neck during a dental or oral examination. It could include altered behaviour in children and adults during dental treatment. They could be abused or neglected and might need further assessment or referral,” he observed. 

“In India, there is no protocol for treating abuse cases. Abroad, they have a clear directive and working protocol for medical and dental clinicians,” he noted.

He said that at the meeting it was decided to constitute a multidisciplinary team to assess and manage child abuse cases; albeit by complying with state legislation.

“We aim to improve the operational method clearly and appropriately. The directives in force in the UK and Canada will be referred and consulted,” Dr Chowdhury added.

A draft consultation paper would be prepared by the expert-work group after meeting different organisations and speciality departments. The draft would be distributed to experts across the country and their suggestions would be incorporated before preparing a final document, the doctor added.

The Council of Scientific and Strategic Affairs of the Indian Academy of Oral Biology (IAOB) would ratify the directive on how a dental clinician would be involved in the complete process of treating child abuse cases with dental and facial injury (Non-Accidental Injury--NAI). “The term ‘child abuse’ is now included under NAI”, he added.

The team of experts vested with the task of preparing the protocol are:

Dr Cherran P L of Forensic Medicine of KSHEMA, Prof Sanjeev Shetty, Head of Community Medicine of KSHEMA, Professor Sridhar Shetty Founding dean of ABSMIDS, Prof Amershree Shetty of Paediatric Dentistry ABSMIDS, Prof Riaz Abdulla, Department of Oral Pathology of Yenepoya Dental College, Dr Sham Bhat, Vice-dean of Yenepoya Dental college and Prof Vijaya Shenoy, Head of the Department of Paediatrics of KSHEMA Hospital.

Dean of ABSMIDS Prof U S Krishna Nayak and Prof Sripathi Rao Dean of Yenepoya Dental College were present during the seminar held prior to the expert work-group meeting.