Social and Ecological Issues in Violence toward Children

  • Robert L. Burgess


The issue of parental violence toward children became part of our general social and scientific consciousness over 25 years ago. In a classic paper by Kempe, Silverman, Steele, Droegemueller, and Silver (1962), a group of physicians coined the term the battered child syndrome. This work was a result of awareness by these physicians of evidence of repeated multiple bone fractures that were appearing in the X rays of a substantial number of children. Their chief purpose in writing the article was to alert other physicians to the problem in order to facilitate the detection of abuse. Much of the article, as a result, is devoted to detailed descriptions of the syndrome. For example, physicians were warned to suspect the presence of the syndrome in any child showing outward evidence of neglect, contusions to internal organs, soft-tissue swelling or skin bruising, evidence of past or present bone fracture, or clinical symptoms that appear at odds with the mother’s description of the child’s injury.


Child Abuse Reproductive Strategy Behavioral Parent Training Ecological Issue Abusive Parent 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert L. Burgess
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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