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June 1992

Recognizing Child Abuse

Author Affiliations

Boston, Mass

Arch Ophthalmol. 1992;110(6):766-768. doi:10.1001/archopht.1992.01080180038025

In 1986, the Study of National Incidence and Prevalence of Child Abuse and Neglect estimated that 300 000 children are physically abused, 140 000 are sexually abused, and 700 000 are neglected or maltreated each year in the United States. This leads to at least 1100 deaths annually.1 Approximately 15% of abused children suffer permanent physical abnormalities, while emotional deficits and learning problems are found in almost all of these children.2

BATTERED-CHILD SYNDROME  In 1946, Caffey3 described the unusual association of chronic subdural hematomas and long-bone fractures in infants. The traumatic nature of this syndrome was emphasized in 1953 by Silverman,4 who noted that a history of trauma could often be elicited from parents of these infants. Not until 1962, however, did the cause of this phenomenon become nationally recognized by the medical community. In that year, Kempe and coworkers5 coined the term battered-child syndrome

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