Despite the frequency of child fatalities (in America, 2.3per 100,000) attributed to physical abuse, merely recognizing the offense is a major forensic challenge. The tell-tale signatures of non-accidental injury can be very subtle, making it difficult to differentiate between accidental and non-accidental injury. Yet successful adjudication of a child abuse case often rests on the correct interpretation of skeletal injury.
In this volume the authors guide the reader through published data regarding the mechanics and interpretation of injuries,including the agencies they indicate. The material includes discussion of the limitations faced in interpreting some injuries, where making a judgment on cause is tricky. In addition, a chapter on natural diseases affecting the bones provides a good overview of several conditions that are often invoked as 'mimics' of child abuse. Finally, this publication evinces the value of collaboration between the pathologist and the anthropologist.
"The atlas is a detailed guide to the role of the forensic anthropologist in the investigation of skeletal injuries. ... Not only does the book give a good overview of the relevant literature on the topic, it also provides many excellent images of cases, both in situ and after processing. ... very informative for both forensic pathologists and forensic anthropologists, especially in regions where the disciplines do not work together in cases of fatal child abuse, which is the case in most European countries." (Saskia S. Guddat, Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology, April, 2013)