Evolving forensic controversies in child abuse imaging

Pediatr Radiol. 2021 May;51(6):1079-1083. doi: 10.1007/s00247-020-04800-3. Epub 2021 May 17.


Child abuse is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in the pediatric population. Despite well-defined evidence establishing bona fide clinical and imaging indicators of child abuse, denialists have emerged on behalf of defendants utilizing unaccepted scientific positions based on literature that they have often authored themselves. This manuscript describes many of the trends in recent legal proceedings while highlighting the importance of consensus statements and professional ethics as they pertain to child abuse imaging. Knowledge of these cases and legal defense strategies is valuable to potential expert witnesses in relevant proceedings.

Keywords: Abusive head trauma; Child abuse; Children; Classic metaphyseal lesion; Forensic testimony; Imaging; Radiography.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse* / diagnosis
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine
  • Expert Testimony
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Humans