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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111

Abstract

OLIVAN-GONZALVO, Gonzalo. Comparison of Spanish gypsy and foreign immigrant maltreated children admitted to protection centers. Gac Sanit [online]. 2004, vol.18, n.5, pp. 380-386. ISSN 0213-9111.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0213-91112004000500007.

Objectives: To determine whether there are differences between Spanish gypsy and foreign immigrant children admitted to protection centers in the characteristics of the maltreatment, social and familial factors linked to maltreatment, and health status. Methods: The social and health reports of 83 Spanish gypsy and 105 foreign immigrant children admitted to protection centers of the Aragonese Institute for Social Services (Instituto Aragonés de Servicios Sociales [IASS]) because of maltreatment from January 1994 to December 2003 were reviewed. Maltreatment, its types, and warning signs were defined and assessed according to the guidelines drawn up by the IASS. The social and familial risk factors associated with maltreatment were determined according to national studies. Health status was assessed following protocols used by the IASS. A descriptive and comparative statistical study was performed. Results: The Spanish gypsy children were mostly in the age group of 0-5 years, while foreign immigrants were mostly in the age group of 12-17 years. Spanish gypsy children showed a greater frequency of physical and emotional neglect and/or abandonment (p < 0.001) and were more likely to have families with problems of crime (odds ratio [OR] = 16.5; 95% confidence interval [95%CI], 6.7-40.7), drug/alcohol abuse (OR = 8.8; 95%CI, 3.7-21) and families with more than one social and health risk factor (OR = 9.3; 95%CI, 3.8-22.8). Spanish gypsy children showed a greater frequency of neurological disorders, disabling diseases, absent or incomplete immunizations, and dermatologic diseases. Foreign immigrant children showed a greater frequency of physical and psychological and/or sexual abuse (p < 0.001) and were more likely to live in a single parent family (OR = 7.9; 95%CI, 2.2-27.7). Conclusions: Identifying the differences between these two groups of maltreated children could be useful for professionals working in the community social services in charge of developing intervention strategies for the prevention and early detection of maltreatment, as well as for professionals in charge of the health of these children during their stay in a protection center.

Keywords : Child abuse; Child day care centers; Ethnic groups; Gypsies; Immigrants; Risk factors; Social problems; Health status.

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