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Factors influencing the prosecution of child physical abuse cases in a Swedish metropolitan area
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.
2013 (English)In: Acta Paediatrica, ISSN 0803-5253, E-ISSN 1651-2227, Vol. 102, no 12, 1199-1203 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

AIM: To examine whether case characteristics of alleged child physical abuse, such as severity, influence criminal investigation procedures and judicial outcomes.

METHOD: We identified all police-reported cases of nonfatal child physical abuse during 2006 in a Swedish metropolitan area (n = 158). Case characteristics were abstracted from police records.

RESULTS: Over half (56%) of the victims were boys, and the median age group was 9-12 years. The severity of the alleged violence was low in 8% of cases, moderate in 51% and high in 41%. Suspects were interviewed in 53% of cases, with fathers more likely to be interviewed than mothers. Children were forensically interviewed in 52% of cases, with 9% physically examined by a clinician and 2.5% by a forensic specialist. Seven per cent of the cases were prosecuted and 1.3% resulted in summary punishment. We found no association between severity of alleged abuse and whether the suspect was interviewed, the child was forensically interviewed or physically examined or whether the perpetrator was prosecuted.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the high severity of alleged violence, physical examination rates were low, suggesting a need for criminal investigative procedures on child physical abuse to be reviewed in Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo: Scandinavian University Press , 2013. Vol. 102, no 12, 1199-1203 p.
Keyword [en]
Child abuse and neglect, Child maltreatment, Forensic examination, Violence
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95924DOI: 10.1111/apa.12399ISI: 000330040100030PubMedID: 23964672Local ID: P-3045OAI: diva2:662433
Available from: 2013-11-07 Created: 2013-11-07 Last updated: 2014-02-21Bibliographically approved

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