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Battered Child Syndrome

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.

Battered child syndrome is defined as the collection of injuries sustained by a child as a result of repeated mistreatment or beating. If a child’s injuries indicate intentional trauma or appear to be more severe than could reasonably be expected to result from an accident, battered child syndrome should be suspected. In such cases, an investigator must do more than collect information about the currently reported injury. A full investigation requires interviewing possible witnesses about other injuries that the child may have suffered, obtaining the caretakers’ explanation for those injuries, and assessing the conclusions of medical personnel who may have seen the victim before.

If battered child syndrome is suspected, in addition to seeking proper medical attention, the appropriate authorities should be notified.

PLEASE NOTE: This is by no means complete or authoritative and is provided only as a convenience to readers. The resources on this site should never be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Information herein must not be used in any decision-making process regarding the wellness and/or health of your child. You must consult the appropriate professional regarding any such issues.

Narrative on this page is presented as provided to the public domain by the U.S., Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. For additional and more detailed information visit the DOJ Website.

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