Fatal Child Abuse and Neglect

  • Michael Durfee
  • Deanne Tilton-Durfee
Part of the Child Maltreatment book series (MALT, volume 1)


The Battered Child Syndrome broke the 102-year silence that followed the 1860 work on fatal child abuse by Ambrose Tardieu. Henry Kempe’s survey of child abuse polled hospitals and district attorneys. Both had more than 10% fatality. His reference articles had graphic descriptions of fractures and death. Severe injuries may have been necessary to get past the resistance that Dr. Kempe described with doctors that “tried to obliterate suspicion from their mind.” He put himself in the process describing an injured child from his hospital who was sent home, abused, and died. Dr. Kempe opened the door for more sophisticated injury studies, multiagency child fatality review teams, child death prevention, automated data systems, domestic violence fatality review, and elder abuse fatality review. New programs address child grief support and nonfatal severe injury review. We have surpassed his science but his courage, candor, and clarity are seldom matched.


Criminal Justice Domestic Violence Child Abuse Line Staff Child Death Review 
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  1. This field is changing rapidly. While not an inclusive list, we recommend the following websites. In addition, team reports exist for many states and counties. Search the web for Child Death Review and/or Child Fatality Review and your location.Google Scholar
  2. The ICAN National Center for Child Fatality Review.
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  17. Roche, A. J., Fortin, G., Labbé, J., Brown, J., & Chadwick, D. (2005). The work of Ambrose Tardieu: The first definitive description of child abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect, 29(4), 325–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  19. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. (1996). A nation’s shame: Fatal child abuse and neglect in the United States. U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect. Accessed 3 Nov 2011.
  20. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families. (2009) Child maltreatment 2009. Accessed 3 Nov 2011.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Los Angeles County Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and NeglectEl MonteUSA
  2. 2.ICAN National Center for Child Fatality ReviewEl MonteUSA

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