Non accidental injuries, the term used inside the child welfare sector, and by medical experts to describe injuries which are believed to have been caused by adults deliberately inflicting physical harm to children, are notoriously hard to identify.

The result is that sometimes, innocent parents who have not harmed their children at all are found guilty of child abuse, resulting in families being torn apart by a misdiagnosis. We have assisted on cases liked these in the past and it is clear from current practice that only a select few medical practitioners around the country have any real business diagnosing these kinds of injuries. Most doctors and attending nurses have very little training in this area. Combine this thought with the reality that even science is not yet up to speed on this kind of injury and what you have is a recipe for injustice and children finding themselves in care, when they should be at home with their parents.

Of course, the reverse can sometimes be true – these fractures may sometimes appear accidental.

But new research is about to turn this area of practice on its head, literally. Ground breaking research now suggests that skull fractures may leave telltale signs that can help better determine what caused an injury.

The findings could help to uncover what really happened in child abuse cases, and determine with greater certainty whether the injury was accidental, or not. This has been made possible via the use of a mathematical algorithm to help classify the fractures.

The article outlining this research says:

“Until now, researchers believed that multiple skull fractures meant several points of impact to the head that were often classified as child abuse. The new research proves that theory false: a single blow to the head not only causes one fracture, but may also cause several, unconnected fractures in the skull. Additionally, not all fractures start at the point of impact—some actually may begin in a remote location and travel back toward the impact site.”

This is an exciting development in the determination of childhood injuries, we hope it leads to bigger things.