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Child abuse pediatrics: prevention, evaluation, and treatment

Preer, Genevievea; Sorrentino, Deborahb; Newton, Alice W.c

Current Opinion in Pediatrics: April 2012 - Volume 24 - Issue 2 - p 266–273
doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e328350674d
OFFICE PEDIATRICS: Edited by Henry H. Bernstein

Purpose of review This review is designed to update the general pediatrician with information about current child maltreatment literature. The authors have selected salient articles, which inform daily practice of any professional involved in the care of children who may be at risk of child abuse.

Recent findings The field of child abuse pediatrics continues to engender controversy in both medical journals and courtrooms. As scrutiny about the basis for the diagnosis increases, clinicians and researchers work to build a solid base of scientific evidence with thorough and well-designed studies. This is most evident with regards to abusive head trauma, wherein both lay and scientific press challenge the possibility that infants can be severely injured or killed by shaking, blunt force trauma, or both.

Summary Child abuse pediatrics is a well-established and credible medical field. Although child physical and sexual abuse are age-old problems, public acknowledgement and intervention models are relatively new, and medical literature continues to reflect an increasing and deeper understanding of the impact of abuse throughout the world.

aDepartment of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine. Child Protection Program, Boston Medical Center

bChild Protection Program, Children's Hospital Boston

cDepartment of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Child Protection Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Child Protection Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Alice W. Newton, MD, Child Protection Program, Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Tel: +617 355 7979; fax: +617 730 0492; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.