n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Home is where the harm is : distinguishing accidental from intentional infliction of paediatric injury in child physical abuse cases

Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-1383



This article examines two well-known types of child physical abuse : battered child syndrome (BCS), and shaken baby syndrome, also known as abusive head injury (AHI). It then looks at three frequently offered defences in these types of child abuse cases : accident ; differential diagnosis ; and mistaken identity. These potential defences are examined with specific reference to issues of short falls, failure to thrive, and burn injuries. Particular attention is paid to methods and indicia used to distinguish intentionally inflicted paediatric injuries and illness from those sustained under non-criminal circumstances.

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