Professionals’ preferences and experiences with inter-organizational consultation to assess suspicions of child abuse and neglect

Annemieke A.J. Konijnendijk*, Magda M. Boere-Boonekamp, Maria E. Haasnoot, Ariana Need

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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This study addresses the following questions in cases of suspected child abuse and neglect (CAN) in children up to four years of age: 1) How many professionals intend to seek inter-organizational consultation? 2) What types of organizations do professionals prefer to consult? and 3) What factors can be identified as facilitator(s) or barrier(s) regarding inter-organizational consultation, based on professionals’ experiences? Professionals working with children in 101 organizations in a medium-sized Dutch city were invited to fill in an online questionnaire. The questionnaire included a vignette about a suspected case. Quantitative, qualitative, and social network analysis approaches were used to analyze the data. Seventy-eight questionnaires were available for analysis. Fifty-five respondents (71%) intended to seek inter-organizational consultation. Ten different organization types were mentioned. The most frequently mentioned organization was preventive child healthcare. In total, 82 text fragments from 39 participants were available to analyze barriers and facilitators to inter-organizational consultation, 60 fragments that entailed a facilitator and 22 fragments that entailed a barrier. The text fragments were subdivided into twelve factors. The three factors that were most often identified as a facilitator were 'support’, ‘undertaking action’, and ‘regard’. Barriers were found in relation to all twelve factors. No specific barrier(s) stood out. This study demonstrated that most professionals are inclined to seek inter-organizational consultation when they suspect CAN. They are especially likely to seek consultation from preventive child health care organizations. Their experiences mainly revealed facilitators and few barriers. The implications for research and practice are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-70
Number of pages13
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Early online date14 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Information sharing
  • Inter-organizational consultation
  • Prevention
  • Child abuse and neglect


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