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NCJ Number: 156141 Find in a Library
Title: Understanding Fatal Child Abuse
Journal: Child Abuse and Neglect  Volume:19  Issue:7  Dated:(July 1995)  Pages:855-863
Author(s): R A Hicks; D C Gaughan
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Medical, social-service, and coroner reports were reviewed for 14 cases of fatal child abuse and neglect identified at a children's hospital from 1988 through 1992.
Abstract: Twelve cases involved physical abuse and two involved neglect. The median age was 6.5 months (range 24 days to 3 years). Six families (43 percent) had prior protective-service involvement; however, four of the referrals involved a sibling. Only two of the 12 physical-abuse victims had a history of a prior suspicious injury. Clinical and postmortem findings are presented in this article. The cause of death in all physically abused patients was blunt-impact head injury; one also had contributing intra- abdominal injuries. Ten cases were ruled homicides; 12 have come to legal closure that resulted in nine felony convictions. These findings emphasize the role of blunt-impact brain injury in fatal child-abuse cases. Two findings have significant implications for prevention: the paucity of injuries recognized prior to the fatal incident; and among families known to child-protection agencies, the focus was not on the abuse of the child who was subsequently fatally injured. 3 tables and 28 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse detection; Child abuse fatalities; Child abuse investigations; Child fatalities; Criminology
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