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Non-Accidental Head Injury in Young Children

Medical, Legal and Social Responses
  • Authors
    • Tom Sanders
    • Cathy Cobley
Regular price $45.00
Regular price Sale price $45.00
... this book has a much greater value in approaching the particularly difficult field of non-accidental head injuries (NAHI) in children than many sophisticated articles in high-ranked medical journals... This book will affect considerably the approach of the reader to suspected NAHI cases. The book is well worth the couple of hours needed to read it.'

- Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology

'The book provides a logical and thorough overview of a complex and often emotive subject from a professional and objective stance without any obvious bias... In summary, this excellent book provides an insight into the controversial area of non-accidental head injury in babies and infants and will be of interest to paediatricians, social workers, the legal profession and a small number of paediatric nurses, some of whom may come into contact with these families.'

- British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing

'For readers in a variety of disciplines, Cobley (Cardiff Law School, Wales) and Sanders (Medical Sociology, U. of Manchester) explore challenges of responding to head injury in small children that are not due to accident. The research project underlying the study investigated the quantity and quality of evidence recorded when a subdural haemorrhage is detected, and evaluated the use made of such evidence in making decisions that determine the social and legal consequence for the victims and their families. The methodology and raw results of the research are appended.'


This academic research volume explores non-accidental head injury in babies and young children, covering medical, social, and legal aspects of this phenomenon, as well as the responsibilities of professionals, child protection agencies and the media in this area.

Non-accidental head injury is often referred to as being synonymous with 'shaken baby syndrome' (SBS) - a term which has attracted a great deal of controversy in recent years due to both disagreement about its cause and the reliability of eyewitness testimony. The authors investigate the existing evidence surrounding SBS and its recognition and construction, including medical versus social explanations and the difficulties involved in proving abuse. The reliability of eyewitness and expert testimony are discussed in the context of the concept of proof, as is the social backlash against high profile media cases such as those of Sally Clarke, Trupti Patel and Angela Cannings.

The authors argue for an examination of non-accidental head injury rather than SBS, as this term encompasses other forms of abuse as well as shaking, and caution against a blind acceptance of medical testimony, arguing that this may impede child protection agencies' ability to assess cases objectively and accurately. They also consider the effectiveness of prevention strategies in reducing the incidence of child abuse cases.

This insightful book is essential reading for social workers, lawyers, health professionals, and those working with child protection agencies.
  • Published: Nov 15 2006
  • Pages: 192
  • 231 x 155mm
  • ISBN: 9781843103608
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Press Reviews

  • Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

    I throughly enjoyed this book. I recommend it to any professional who works with children. Despite the fact that the book covered events and legal aspects of NAHI in England, the issues described can apply to any country.
  • Pediatric Endocrinology Reviews

    This little book discusses a problem rarely discussed and of great actuality, namely that of the "shaken baby syndrome". It is written by a former police officer and a medical sociologist, and discusses the medical, social and legal aspects of non-accidental head injuries in babies and young children. Of interest to pediatricians, social workers and those involved with law and child protection.
  • British Journal of Social Work

    The authors provide a valuable insight into the complexities surrounding the interface between medical and legal decision - making in the field of non-accidental head injury. It is accessible and would be of interest to the range of professionals working in the field of child abuse.
  • Journal of Social Welfare & Family Law

    This book provides an excellent insight into current thinking, research, and courtroom practice with regard to non-accidental head injury in young children. The research is linked to theory throughout the book and this provides a rounded perspective with regard to the subject matter. Accepting that the subject matter is one which is inherently tragic and disturbing this book is an informative and sightful read.