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NCJ Number: 50912 Find in a Library
Title: DENTISTS AND THE BATTERED CHILD SYNDROME
Journal: DENTAL CLINICS OF NORTH AMERICA  Volume:21  Issue:1  Dated:(JANUARY 1977)  Pages:113-122
Author(s): I M SOPHER
Corporate Author: W B Saunders Co
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: W B Saunders Co
Philadelphia, PA 19105
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE EXAMINES THE ETIOLOGICAL FACTORS INVOLVED IN CHILD ABUSE AND THE PATHOLOGIC FEATURES OF THE AFFLICTED CHILD. THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE DENTIST ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: THE HEAD IS A COMMON AREA FOR CHILD ABUSE INJURY. THIS FACT HAS PRACTICAL APPLICATION FOR THE DENTIST BECAUSE INJURY TO THE ORAL AND FACIAL STRUCTURES MAY CAUSE A PATIENT TO SEEK DENTAL CARE FOR RELATED INJURIES. THE DENTIST, THEREFORE, SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE ABUSED CHILD SYNDROME. DENTISTS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT THEIR PRIMARY MORAL AND LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES INVOLVE NOTIFYING THE PROPER AUTHORITIES OF THEIR SUSPICIONS OR OPINIONS AND THAT THEY ARE NOT EXPECTED TO PURSUE THE INVESTIGATORY ASPECTS OF THE CASE. THE FOLLOWING ETIOLOGICAL FACTORS, COMPOSING A COMPLEX PANEL OF PSYCHIATRIC AND DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS, MAY BE RELATED TO THE OFFENDER'S BEHAVIOR: SOCIOECONOMIC STRATA; INTERACTION AMONG THE PARENTS' PERSONALITY TRAITS, THE CHILD'S CHARACTERISTICS, AND THE ENVIRONMENT; OFFENDER'S BACKGROUND OF FRUSTRATION; OFFENDER'S HISTORY OF HAVING BEEN A VICTIM OF CHILD ABUSE; AND SUBCONSCIOUS DESIRES TO INJURE OR NEGLECT. THE PATHOLOGICAL FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED INVOLVE RECOGNITION OF THE LOCATION, SEVERITY, AND CAUSE OF THE INJURY. POSTMORTEM EXAMINATIONS IN FATAL CASES MUST BE THOROUGH AND INCLUDE INFORMATION ON ESTIMATION OF TIME OF DEATH, PHYSICAL APPEARANCE OF THE CHILD, AND POSTNATAL MEDICAL HISTORY. TOTAL BODY X-RAYS AND PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION SHOULD BE INCLUDED. THE DENTIST SHOULD CONTACT LOCAL AUTHORITIES CONCERNING THE STATUS OF MANDATORY REPORTING BECAUSE CHILD ABUSE LEGISLATION IS UNDERGOING RAPID CHANGE. DENTISTS SHOULD UNDERSTAND THEIR OBLIGATION TO TESTIFY WHICH NECESSITATES THE KEEPING OF PRECISE RECORDS ON SUSPECTED ABUSE. THE RECOMMENDED APPROACH FOR THE MAJORITY OF CHILD ABUSE CASES INVOLVES INTERDISCIPLINARY CORRECTIVE THERAPY EMPHASIZING PSYCHOTHERAPY AND COUNSELING. WHILE IT IS NECESSRY TO REMOVE THE CHILD FROM A DANGEROUS ENVIRONMENT, RECONSTITUTION OF THE FAMILY UNIT IS THE ULTIMATE GOAL, WITH EACH CASE CONSIDERED INDIVIDUALLY. REFERENCES AND STATISTICAL DATA FROM RESEARCH STUDIES ARE PROVIDED. (JCP)
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Crimes against children; Dental analysis; Forensic medicine
Note: PRESENTED AT SYMPOSIUM ON FORENSIC DENTISTRY - LEGAL OBLIGATIONS AND METHODS OF IDENTIFICATION FOR THE PRACTITIONER
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50912

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