Dr Patrick Kelly


Dr Patrick Kelly FRACP is a Paediatrician, Clinical Senior Lecturer in the University of Auckland and Clinical Director of the Auckland District Health Board Child Protection Team (Te Puaruruhau). This is based in Puawaitahi, Australasia's first multi-agency child advocacy centre, adjacent to Starship Hospital. Dr Kelly has been involved in multi-disciplinary child protection practice, service development, teaching and research (particularly concerning abusive head trauma and sexually transmitted infections in children) for 20 years. He has appeared as an expert witness in many criminal trials. Dr Kelly runs annual training courses for paediatricians from New Zealand and Australia on the recognition and management of suspected child abuse. Dr Kelly was chair of the Child Protection Special Interest Group of the Paediatric Society of New Zealand for 12 years, and was a founding member of the New Zealand National Child Mortality Review Committee and the New Zealand Family Violence Death Review Committee. 


Session time:
Monday 27 March: 10:00am - 11:00am

Child Abuse and neglect: what can a dentist do?

Child abuse and neglect is a significant public health issue in New Zealand. Taking one example alone (physical child abuse), there is good evidence that approximately 10% of New Zealand children and young people live in households where they will be (at best intermittently) exposed to physical violence directed at them. The number exposed to violence between adults in their household is event greater. Yet serious though they are, one could argue that physical and sexual abuse (and even exposure to intimate partner violence) may not be our biggest challenges. The prevalence and long-term consequences of neglect are easy to under-estimate. Neglect can be hard to define and even harder to prove, but it is the issue whose consequences all dentists in clinical practice will certainly encounter. This session will touch on the basic epidemiology of abuse and neglect in New Zealand and the questions of whether the problem is getting better or worse. However, principally we will focus on the practical - recognising the issues you might encounter in clinical practice, documenting and responding to those issues, what dentists could do, and how you can access the child protection system in New Zealand in a way most likely to be helpful.

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