Arch Dis Child 89:845-846 doi:10.1136/adc.2003.035493
  • Community child health, public health, and epidemiology

Are abused babies protected from further abuse?

  1. B A Ellaway1,
  2. E H Payne1,
  3. K Rolfe1,
  4. F D Dunstan1,
  5. A M Kemp1,
  6. I Butler2,
  7. J R Sibert1
  1. 1Departments of Child Health and Epidemiology, Statistics and Public Health, Cardiff University, Wales College of Medicine, Academic Centre, Llandough Hospital, Wales, UK
  2. 2Professor of Social Work, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor J Sibert
    Department of Child Health, University of Wales College of Medicine, Academic Centre, Llandough Hospital, Penarth CF64 2XX, Wales, UK;
  • Accepted 29 January 2004


A cohort of 69 physically abused babies under 1 year was followed for three years after the incident. Of the 49 babies who returned home following child protection investigations, 15 were further abused in the three year period, a re-abuse rate of 31%, which is grossly higher than the abuse rate in the general population.


  • Funding: We are grateful to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children for funding this study. The Wales Office of Research and Development funded the original ascertainment of the cohort.

  • Possible conflict of interest: AMK, EHP, and JRS have previously been expert witnesses in child protection cases.

  • Ethical permission was given by the MREC for Wales.