Foreword

Battered child syndrome is a tragic and disturbing phenomenon. Unfortunately, it is a crime that is often successfully hidden by its perpetrators. Law enforcement has an important role to play in uncovering cases of battered child syndrome and gathering evidence for their successful prosecution.

This guide contains practical information on the circumstances that point to the willful rather than the accidental injury or death of an infant or child and the specific evidence required to prove it. It places special emphasis on obtaining an expert medical examination, immediately documenting the injuries through photographs, and collecting and preserving physical evidence. The guide also shows investigators how their interviews with caretakers, family members, neighbors, school personnel, and others can shed light on the treatment the child has received over time and produce witnesses who can corroborate or refute suspected abuse.

Many jurisdictions are beginning to develop training programs to help police investigate this crime more effectively. This guide
is an important contribution to this end and will aid child protection personnel and others in a position to identify, investigate, and prosecute cases of battered child syndrome.

 

Original Printing August 1996

Second Printing July 1997

Third Printing March 2000

Fourth Printing December 2002

NCJ 161406

 

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