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Appraisal of published guidelines in European countries addressing the clinical care of childhood sexual abuse: protocol for a systematic review

Otterman, Gabriel, Nurmatov, Ulugbek, Akhlaq, Ather, Naughton, Aideen, Kemp, Alison Mary ORCID:, Korhonen, Laura, Jud, Andreas, Vollmer Sandholm, Mary Jo, Mora-Theuer, Eva, Moultrie, Sarah, Chalumeau, Martin, Karst, Wouter A and Greenbaum, Jordan 2023. Appraisal of published guidelines in European countries addressing the clinical care of childhood sexual abuse: protocol for a systematic review. BMJ Open 13 (4) , e064008. 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-064008

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Introduction: Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a global public health problem with potentially severe health and mental health consequences. Healthcare professionals (HCPs) should be familiar with risk factors and potential indicators of CSA, and able to provide appropriate medical management. The WHO issued global guidelines for the clinical care of children with CSA, based on rigorous review of the evidence base. The current systematic review identifies existing CSA guidelines issued by government agencies and academic societies in the European Region and assesses their quality and clarity to illuminate strengths and identify opportunities for improvement. Methods and analysis: This 10-database systematic review will be conducted according to the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination guidelines and will be reported according to The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. Guidance for HCPs regarding CSA, written by a national governmental agency or academic society of HCPs within 34 COST Action 19106 Network Countries (CANC) and published in peer-reviewed or grey literature between January 2012 and November 2022, is eligible for inclusion. Two independent researchers will search the international literature, screen, review and extract data. Included guidelines will be assessed for completeness and clarity, compared with the WHO 2017/2019 guidelines on CSA, and evaluated for consistency between the CANC guidelines. The Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II tool and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation methodology will be used to evaluate CANC guidelines. Descriptive statistics will summarise content similarities and differences between the WHO guidelines and national guidelines; data will be summarised using counts, frequencies, proportions and per cent agreement between country-specific guidelines and the WHO 2017/2019 guidelines. Ethics and dissemination: There are no individuals or protected health information involved and no safety issues identified. Results will be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42022320747.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Start Date: 2023-04-17, Type: open-access
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 May 2023
Date of Acceptance: 3 April 2023
Last Modified: 13 May 2023 07:33

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