Korean J Pediatr.  2007 May;50(5):436-442. 10.3345/kjp.2007.50.5.436.

A Clinical Study of Child Abuse

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Korea. ggum0106@hanmail.net


PURPOSE: To promote awareness and efforts by pediatricians to identity and prevent child abuse by investigation of characteristics of victim and types of injury caused by abuse.
A retrospective study was performed with 20 patients who had been diagnosed or suspected as child abuse at Hallym University Hospital from January 1999 to December 2005. The medical records, radiologic documents, and social worker's notes were reviewed to investigate age, sex, visiting time, form of abuse, perpetrator, risk factor, and type of injury.
The mean age of the subjects was 2.8 years. Fourteen patients were between 0-1 years old, 2 patients between 1-6 years old, 3 patients between 7-12 years old, and 1 case over 13 years old. The ratio of male to female was 1:1. The majority of these patients (70%) visited via emergency department. Eight five percent of these patients reported with physical abuse, 5% psychological abuse, 5% sexual abuse, and 5% neglect respectively. The suspected perpetrator was the biological father in six cases, the biological mother in three cases, the stepmother in two cases, caregiver in one case, relatives in one case and "unknown" in six cases. Bruise and hematoma (80%) were the most common physical findings. Skull fractures were diagnosed in six cases, long bone fractures in two cases, hemoperitoneum in two cases, subdural hemorrhage in 10 cases, epidural hemorrhages in two cases, subarachnoidal hemorrhages in two cases, and retinal hemorrhages in five cases respectively. Seventeen cases required hospitalization and surgical operations performed were in nine cases. Four patients died and three patients had sequalae such as developmental delay and quadriplegia.
Child abuse results in high mortality and morbidity in victims. Therefore early recognition and prevention is very important. Pediatricians should always suspect the possibilities of abuse in cases of fracture, intracranial hemorrhage, abdominal injury, or even any injury to the body. We recommend that the clinical investigation of suspicious children should include a full multidisciplinary social assessment, a skeletal survey and CT or MRI.


Child abuse
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