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Introduction: Child maltreatment (CM) is a significant public health problem that increases following natural disasters. Ecological approaches have been used to study these complex phenomena, and the current research fits within this perspective by conducting qualitative interviews with disaster response and family-serving community agencies. The purpose of the study was to identify whether or not community agencies identified CM as an issue that is relevant for disaster planning and response and their perspectives on risk and protective factors for CM risk following disaster. Methods: Agencies (n=16) from 2 geographical areas participated - one that recently experienced a natural disaster (Louisiana (LA), n=7) and one that had not (Georgia (GA), n=9). Agency representatives completed semi-structured telephone interviews (n=16) and follow up in person focus groups (n=14). Theory-driven, thematic analyses were completed. Results: Results suggested that community agencies agree that post-disaster environments increase the risk for CM and that CM prevention has a role in disaster response planning. Risk and protective factors were identified according to Bronfenbrenner’ s ecological framework. Conclusion: Study results support the need to include CM prevention efforts within disaster planning and provide guidance for future research to inform such efforts. [West J Emerg Med. 2013;14(4):402–408]


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West J Emerg Med. 2013;14(4):402–408. doi:

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