Child maltreatment in Dubai and the Northern United Arab Emirates: dental hygienists and assistants’ knowledge
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Purpose: Dental assistants (DAs) and hygienists (DHs) should play an active role in the detection and reporting of child abuse and neglect (CAN). We aimed to investigate CAN knowledge of DAs and DHs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and some of the inhibiting factors to the process of CAN reporting. Methods: A cross-sectional study design was utilized. We surveyed 186 DAs and DHs using a previously validated selfadministered anonymous CAN knowledge questionnaire. Statistical analysis was performed using χ2 -square, Fisher’s exact test, t test/Mann–Whitney, and a ROC curve (p <0.05). Results: Among 186 DAs and DHs surveyed, satisfactory knowledge of CAN was demonstrated by 50.5%. DAs scored a signifcantly higher score of knowledge compared to DHs (p=0.03). The most reported CAN referral inhibiting factor was “being afraid to get in trouble with parents”. The recognition of a child with special needs and parents missing multiple appointments as risk factors for CAN was signifcantly higher in the DAs compared to DHs (p=0.04, p=0.024, respectively). Awareness of local laws was related to CAN knowledge in DAs (p=0.012) and DHs (p=0.008). Conclusion: The lack of appropriate knowledge regarding CAN necessitates a clear reporting process and better education for DAs and DHs in the UAE.