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Relationship of Child Abuse Indicators to the Assessment of Perceived Risk and to the Court's Decision to Separate

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 13 Issue: 4 Dated: (1989) Pages: 491-506
L I Dalgleish; E C Drew
Date Published
16 pages
The most serious decision taken in child abuse cases is to formally separate the child and the family.
One hundred fifty-two cases of suspected child abuse from the Royal Children's Hospital were coded in terms of the indicators and the outcome of the case. The outcome was the court's decision to separate the child. The study investigated whether and in what way these indicators were related to the separation outcome. In addition, the perceived risk to the child was operationally defined, and the relationship of the indicators and the court's decision to perceived risk was studied. Statistical analysis of the data showed that the indicators most associated with the separation outcome were severity of abuse, parenting, and the family social system. Two important implications for practice are that information on explicit indicators should be recorded for cases, and that they can provide a base for training of new child protection workers. 5 tables, 1 figure, 45 references, appendix. (Author abstract modified)