liu.seSearch for publications in DiVA
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
A four-year follow-up study of help provided by the Social services for physically abused children
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Even though the number of child physical abuse cases reported to the police has been increasing, little research has been performed to investigate whether interventions directed towards physically abused children are working or not. This paper examines contacts that physically abused children have with the social services 4 years after the physical abuse incidents were reported to the police. This is done in an effort to investigate the characteristics of child and parent that determine whether or not abused children are still receiving help from the social services 4 years after the abuse incidents. All physically abused children whose perpetrators had been reported to a Swedish police district between 1986-1996, were followed through the files (n = 113) of the social services. Four years later 69 children were still receiving interventions from the department. Intervention by the social services prior to a reported abuse incident increased the odds 18.7 times that a child would still receive interventions 4 years after the incident, and the presence of a mentally ill mother increased the odds 11.8 times.

Keyword [en]
social services, child physical abuse, child and parent characteristic, interventions, follow-up
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-63718OAI: diva2:382427
Available from: 2010-12-30 Created: 2010-12-30 Last updated: 2010-12-30
In thesis
1. Child physical abuse: Reports and interventions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Child physical abuse: Reports and interventions
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis was begun in 1998 at a time when increased numbers of police reports regarding child physical abuse was presented. The increase had been overshadowed by the research on the sexual abuse of children and showed that child physical abuse in Sweden had only been scarcely investigated since the institution of the Swedish anti spanking law in 1979.

The aim of this thesis was to investigate child physical abuse from a judicial, social, child- and adolescent psychiatric and a user perspective where a parent or equivalent was the perpetrator. One police district was investigated between 1986 and 1996 and all reports regarding child physical abuse were included. The abused children (n=126) were also followed through social services’ files and child and adolescent psychiatric service charts from birth to a 4-year follow up from the abuse incident studied. Finally, mothers of the physically abused children were interviewed.

The greatest increase in police reports during the years investigated, turned out to be concerned with violence between children. The incidence where a carer was the abuser proved to be comparable to the incidence in other Nordic countries, with the adjustment that first generation immigrants were found to abuse their children 8 times as often as native Swedish citizens and second generation immigrants. There were a wide variety of injuries inflicted on the children, where bruises were the most common. Only a few cases where injuries could be verified ended up in court. Social services contact was common among the abused children and their families prior to the abuse incident studied, as were previous reports on child abuse and neglect. Injuries from the abuse as well as familial and context characteristics had an impact on referred social services interventions. The two most important factors for a child still to be receiving social services interventions 4 years after the abuse incident were whether the mother was mentally ill and whether there had been reports on child abuse or neglect prior to the studied abuse incident. About half of the children had been receiving interventions from the mental health services at some point in time, but mainly due to other reasons than physical abuse. Mental health treatment for the physically abused children was rare even though many of the children had contact with the child and adolescent psychiatric services repeatedly before, at and after the abuse incident. The interviewed mothers conveyed a picture of satisfaction with the police’s work but were mainly critical towards the social services. The mental health service was considered to be doing a good job, but needed to do even better.

The results indicate that despite an environment that supports public values, attitudes and laws confirming a standpoint against violence towards children, there is still a gap between intentions and reality in Sweden. The thesis provides one way of looking at child physical abuse, but puts forward the urgent need of further studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2005. 82 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 879
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-28708 (URN)13875 (Local ID)91-7373-858-1 (ISBN)13875 (Archive number)13875 (OAI)
Public defence
2005-07-21, Aulan, Hälsans hus, Campus Norrköpng, Linköpings universitet, Norrköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
2005Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2010-12-30

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Lindell, CharlottaSvedin, Carl Göran
By organisation
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Faculty of Health SciencesDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Medical and Health Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 21 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link