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The plight of the battered child is widely recognized, but little has been done to correct his deplorable situation (p 358, this issue). Healing the wounds or correcting a critical malnutrition is an anticlimax. Most important is rehabilitation of the environment that permits the abuse. Ideally, we strive for a society in which child abuse is nonexistent. Practically, we must prevent repeated abuse to the child or subsequent abuse to his brothers or sisters.
Child abuse is insidious. Only the more flagrant cases come to public attention. Many instances do not come to the attention of physicians, and in those that do, it is often discovered that the child had suffered previously from maltreatment or injury by his parents or guardian. Sometimes the fear arises that the child may be healed only to be subjected to injury again.
The current approach to the problem embraces little more than a recommendation
Office of the General Counsel. BATTERED CHILD LEGISLATION. JAMA. 1964;188(4):386. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060300048012
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