|| The Battered Child Fifth Edition
||Mary Edna Helfer, Ruth S. Kempe, and Richard D. Krugman
||University of Chicago Press, ©1997
University of Chicago Press
5801 South Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
This 671-page book is the fifth edition of this classic and influential
book. It is dedicated to Dr. Roy Helfer who died in 1992 and who was a leader
in the effort to eliminate child maltreatment. The editors state that, although
the format of the book remains the same, 90% of the content is new.
The book consists of 30 chapters divided into four parts and ends with an
index. Part one provides an overview and general background of the cultural,
social, and individual context in which maltreatment occurs. Part two, the
largest section of the book, addresses the assessment of various forms of
abuse and neglect. Part three focuses on intervention and treatment, and
part four covers prevention and policy. The sections of physical abuse include
black and white photographs depicting several types of physical abuse and
illustrate how child abuse is differentiated from accidental injuries.
There is little mention of false accusations in cases of suspected sexual
abuse, although the chapters that discuss interviewing show an awareness
of the importance of encouraging free recall and avoiding leading questions.
There is a good discussion of mistaken diagnoses of physical abuse in the
chapter by a former chief medical examiner on the pathology of child abuse.
The chapter on culture and maltreatment is useful due to the large numbers
of recent immigrants who have child rearing practices that may be seen as
Some authors offer suggestions that are naive and show a lack of awareness
of the current consensus. One example is the recommendation to use anatomical
dolls, another is the now-discredited list of behavioral indicators that
are said to trigger a suspicion of sexual abuse. There is little mention
of substance abuse, although this is an important factor in child abuse
and neglect cases. This book is only recommended as a supplement to other
more important books.
Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Emeritus Professor, West Virginia