Child Abuse Resources

References and Resources relevant to the care of the abused child/infant – by Kaleb Lachenicht

What is abuse?

“Action, or inaction, which results in actual or potential physical harm from an interaction or lack of interaction, which is reasonably within the control of the parent or person in a position of responsibility, power or trust.” (WHO 1999)

Laws that protect our children?


The constitution:

Provides direction as to the rights and responsibilities of adults towards children in SA. Section 28 is specifically related to the care and protection of children, and what children can expect in terms of their rights

Children are considered to be vulnerable citizens as such they are specifically protected under the constitution and have the following rights:

The Children’s Act 38 of 2005

This Act covers all the information that would be required for decision making according to the constitution in terms of the child in SA. Section 110 of this act is particularly relevant to health-care providers who are unsure of their role in reporting any kind of abuse of a child.

The important concepts have been summarized below:

Section 110

(1) Any correctional official, dentist, homeopathy, immigration official, labour inspector, legal practitioner, MEDICAL PRACTITIONER, midwife, minister of religion, nurse, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, psychologist, religious leader, social service professional, social worker, speech therapist, teacher, traditional health practitioner, traditional leader or member of staff or volunteer worker at a partial care facility, drop-in centre or child or your care centre on reasonable grounds concludes that a child has been abused in a manner causing physical injury, sexually abused or deliberatly neglected MUST report conclusion to a designated Child Protection organization, the Provincial Department of Social Development or a Police Official.

(2) Any person who on reasonable grounds believes that a child is in need of care and protection MAY report that belief to a designated Child Protection organization, the provincial Department of Social Development or a Police Official.

(3) The persons referred to in Section (1) and (2) must substantiate their conclusion or belief and if they make the report in good faith, they cannot be sued.

Form 22 on the following link is the correct form that should be completed when a report of abuse is made with any SAPS official/social worker capable of accepting a report:

Information about other laws that may be relevant in the care of a child in SA can be found at the following link:

What about SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a diagnosis of EXCLUSION, meaning it cannot be made without autopsy/investigation into the cause of death.

SIDS does not include death by any of the following causes:

  • Asphyxia
  • Suffocation
  • Aspiration
  • Infection
  • Trauma/injury
  • Metabolic problems (errors in metabolism)
  • Poisoning/medication use resulting in death

None of these conditions can be ruled out without Autopsy, this means ALL infant deaths, specifically if unexpected MUST be referred as an unnatural death for investigation.

The resource on the link below can be used for more information on the topic:

The Patient Record/Report on consultation

  • In the case that you suspect there may be some kind of abuse occuring, the following information MUST be captured and should also appear on any report made to SAPS (form 22).


Attached is an example of a checklist/report form that could accompany any peadiatric injury:


For more information or to get in touch with us, please leave a message for us on the contact page of this blog. We look forward to hearing from you!

Who do I call for help?

Below is a resource with all the contact information for Gauteng:



  1. Alvarez, K.M. et al., 2004. Why are professionals failing to initiate mandated reports of child maltreatment , and are there any empirically based training programs to assist professionals in the reporting process ? Aggression and Violent Behavior, 9, pp.563–578.
  2. Dessena, B., Wallis, L. and Twomey, M., 2015. A study to determine perceived and actual knowledge of cape town emergency medical care providers with regard to child abuse.
  3. Duhaime, A., Christian, C., Rorke, L. and Zimmerman, R., 1998. Non-accidental head injury in infants- “the shaken-baby syndrome.” The New England Journal of Medicine, pp.1822 – 1828.
  4. Health Professions Council of South Africa. 2015. Annual report p 73. Available at: Accessed: 28/02/2016
  5. Jackson, A.M., Kissoon, N. & Greene, C., 2015. Aspects of Abuse_ Recognizing and Responding to Child Maltreatment. Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care, 45(3), pp.58–70. Available at:
  6. Kemp,  a M. et al., 2003. Apnoea and brain swelling in non-accidental head injury. Archives of disease in childhood, 88(6), pp.472–476; discussion 472–476.
  7. Lynne, E.G. et al., 2015. Barriers to Reporting Child Maltreatment : North Carolina Medical Journal, 76(1), pp.13–18.
  8. Markenson, D. et al., 2007. A National Assessment of Knowledge , Attitudes , and Confidence of Prehospital Providers in the Assessment and Management of Child Maltreatment. Pediatrics, 119(1), pp.e103 – e108. Available at: peds.2005-2121.
  9. Markenson, D. et al., 2002. Knowledge and Attitude Assessment and Education of Prehospital Personnel in Child Abuse and Neglect : Report of a National Blue Ribbon Panel. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 40(1), pp.89–101. Available at: doi:10.1067/mem.2002.125610 JULY.
  10. Matschke, J. et al., 2009. Shaken baby syndrome: a common variant of non-accidental head injury in infants. Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 106(13), pp.211–217.
  11. McNaughton, J., 1997. Portable guides to investigating child abuse: An overview. US Department of Justice, NCJ165153, p.-.
  12. Nannan, N. et al., 2012. Under-5 Mortaliy Statistics in South Africa: Shedding some light on the trend and causes 1997-2007,
  13. Regnaut, O. et al., 2015. Risk factors for child abuse : levels of knowledge and difficulties in family medicine . A mixed method study. BMC Research Notes, pp.4–9. Available at: “
  14. Rocourt, D. V & Nwomeh, B.C., 2011. Injuries from Child Abuse. In Paediatric Surgery: A Comprehensive Text For Africa [Chapter 34]. pp. 222–227.
  15. Survey Monkey. 2015. Sample Size Calculation. Available at:  Accessed: 24 February 2016.
  16. Sanders, T. & Cobley, C., 2005. Identifying non-accidental injury in children presenting to A&E departments: An overview of the literature. Accident and Emergency Nursing, 13(2), pp.130–136.
  17. Talsma, M. et al., 2016. Facing suspected child abuse – what keeps Swedish general practitioners from reporting to child protective services ? Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 33(February), pp.21–26. Available at:
  18. Warman, M., 1984. Shaken Baby Syndrome : A Review of 20 Cases. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 13(02), pp.104–107.
  19. Worlock, P., Stower, M. and Barbor, P. (1986). Patterns of fractures in accidental and non-accidental injury in children: a comparative study. British medical journal (Clinical research ed.), 292, 100-102.

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