Interview with Ms Catherine Bonnet, psychiatric consultant for children and adolescents in France and the United Kingdom

16.05.12 Ms Bonnet explains the difficulties of detecting physical signs of sexual abuse on children. She points out that when doctors ask questions to a child, they need to listen carefully, so that the child could feel comfortable to reveal secrets he/she might have kept hidden. Ms Bonnet describes the current situation in France: doctors are in a difficult situation when they have to choose whether to report or not, suspected cases of child sexual abuses. Either they report suspected cases and they are liable to legal action, or if they do not, they risk being condemned for not having reported the suspected case. Only doctors who are officials have an obligation to report. Ms Bonnet also points out that this situation needs to be clarified, there needs to be relevant legislation that will oblige doctors to report suspected cases of sexual abuse and at the same time, doctors will be given immunity from civil and disciplinary liability if the decision was taken in good faith.

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