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Defining standards for medico-legal reports in forensic evaluation of suspicious childhood injury

Authors
Journal
Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
1752-928X
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
19
Issue
5
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jflm.2012.02.009
Keywords
  • Forensic
  • Medico-Legal
  • Report
  • Standards
  • Principles
Disciplines
  • Criminology
  • Law

Abstract

Abstract Expert opinions in the form of medico-legal reports are requested by police investigators and statutory child protection officers from child protection/forensic paediatricians to help them to make child protection and prosecution decisions. These reports must be understood and able to be correctly interpreted by a range of professionals and as well as comply with the requirements of expert court reports. There is currently much variation in report construction. Having a medico-legal report framework which defines structure and standards assists report-writers to achieve objectivity, can be useful for training, peer review audits and ensures optimal standards in opinion formulation. Using legal judgements relating to child abuse proceedings, author experience and the limited existing literature, a tool is presented which defines report standards specifically in relation to the assessment of suspicious injuries.

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