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Forensic Medical Aspects of Child Abuse

TG Kiryakova


BACKGROUND: Child abuse is an extremely important legal, medical and social problem. A number of conventions and laws aimed to protect children have been accepted and ratified as an expression of the pursuit of complete and thorough childcare. Although violence against children can come in a variety of forms, from a forensic point of view, physical and sexual violence are of greatest importance.

LEARNING POINTS: The methods of identification of traumatic injuries, correct interpretation of the collected data, differential diagnosis between accidental injuries and cases of child abuse, the role of the clinician in clarifying the cases, the legal basis and the procedure for informing the competent authorities are presented.

MAIN BODY: In the Department of Forensic Medicine and Deontology, Sofia, hundreds of children and adolescence are examined each year. The main role of the forensic expert is to find whether there are visible signs of violence, their characteristics, the mechanism and the time of occurrence and their complications. To clarify some of these basic questions, collaboration with various medical professionals is needed. Furthermore, particular attention should be paid to children under the age of five, who cannot or do not give accurate information, and have difficulties in describing what has happened to them.

CONCLUSION: Child abuse has serious and severe consequences for the victims. Early recognition of the signs of violence by medical professionals and the collaboration work are of utmost importance to minimize the harmful effects and, in some cases, to save the child`s life.


child abuse, forensic medicine, physical violence, sexual violence

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TG Kiryakova

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