Testimony of child abuse experts under new scrutiny

May 9, 2004

Two major inquiries launched into medical evidence used in court cases against parents suspected of abusive behaviourBy Liam McDougall, Health CorrespondentThe unprecedented reviews, to be co-ordinated by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, will examine the scientific basis of theories put forward in court cases. It will be the first time that the opinions of witnesses in child abuse cases will effectively be “peer reviewed” to establish their reliability.The first, involving more than 50 eminent US paediatricians, will examine the transcripts of recent high-profile child abuse cases to review the quality of evidence given by expert witnesses on both sides. The study aims to lead to better quality witnesses in the wake of the recent cases of Angela Cannings, Sally Clark, Trupti Patel and Mark Latta – all were acquitted of murdering their children.A second review – to be chaired by the Scottish paediatrician Professor Neil McIntosh – will research every study that has been published in the area of physical abuse. A panel of six UK experts, including radiologists, neurosurgeons and pathologists, will produce a report which highlights the most reliable and up-to-date research on the subject. Another study by the group is to be launched into research relating to sexual abuse…

Sunday Herald [Scotland]

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