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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 160278 Find in a Library
Title: Closure, Covert Warnings, and Escalating Child Abuse
Journal: Child Abuse and Neglect  Volume:19  Issue:12  Dated:(December 1995)  Pages:1517-1521
Author(s): P Reder; S Duncan
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 5
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Thirty-five cases of fatal child abuse in the United Kingdom between 1973 and 1989 were reviewed using a family systems approach to determine common patterns in the relationships within the families, interactions among members of the professional networks, and relationships between the families and professionals.
Abstract: Two types of interactions between the families and professionals appeared to accompany escalating and potentially fatal abuse. Closure was one pattern. In closure, the families tried to withdraw from contact with the outside world and particularly from monitoring professionals. The parents did not keep scheduled appointments with professionals, and social workers or others repeatedly failed to gain entry to the home when they called. Closure was apparent in a majority of the 35 cases. It usually occurred in intermittent cycles. The second pattern consisted of covert warnings. These families approached professionals and communicated what was, in retrospect, a disguised admission that abuse was critically escalating. The warning nature of these incidents emerged only in the review of each case, when it was apparent that they had been followed a few days later by the child's death. Future clinical research focused on these observations may aid the practice of child protection in the future. 17 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse fatalities; Child welfare; Children at risk; Crime in foreign countries; Criminality prediction; Domestic relations; Family counseling; United Kingdom (UK)
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