Volume 21, Issue 1 (January 1976)
The Battered Child Syndrome
Strange as it may seem, in this era of escalating intellectual enlightement, laws must be passed to protect innocent, harmless children from their parents and others who beat them into senselessness and even death. On 1 July 1965 such a law went into effect in Illinois, and Illinois became the 11th state to enact a child abuse statute . Our law requires mandatory reporting of all definite or suspicious instances of child abuse to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. This legislation was drafted and its passage urged by a special committee appointed by the Illinois Commission on Children, of which I was a member. It was also endorsed by the Coroner of Cook County, whose office had examined many of the victims, and by many other interested persons who in their professional activities encountered battered children. All felt that the actual reporting and the concomitant publicity and education would serve as deterrents to this deplorable condition. Today, ten years later, the battered child has not been legislated out of existence, although all states now have similar reporting laws . Both the incidence and the severity of these heinous acts continue to be alarming in our country as well as in many foreign countries [3–9]. Daily a large segment of our citizenry, the battered child, is being deprived of its right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Physicians, attorneys, and other professionals must be in the forefront to diagnose the condition, treat the victims, take remedial action against the offenders, and attempt to formulate preventive measures.