Quick Reference to Child and Adolescent Forensics.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Skaff, Richard
Pub Date: 12/22/2011
Publication: Name: The Forensic Examiner Publisher: American College of Forensic Examiners Audience: Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Law; Science and technology Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 American College of Forensic Examiners ISSN: 1084-5569
Issue: Date: Winter, 2011 Source Volume: 20 Source Issue: 3
Topic: NamedWork: Quick Reference to Child and Adolescent Forensics (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Muscari, Mary E.; Brown, Kathleen M.
Accession Number: 275636319
Full Text: Quick Reference to Child and Adolescent FORENSICS

By Mary E. Muscari, and Kathleen M. Brown

Paperback--456 pages; ISBN 978-0-8261-2417-3; $65.00

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"He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24) and "Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell." (Proverbs 23:13-14)

When pathology pervades society, it becomes a norm that is practiced by everyone. It is justified under the guise of religion, tradition, culture, or even being human.

Child abuse has been one of these ominous and deviant norms that have been passed on from one generation to the next like a disease. Child abuse goes beyond discipline (from the Latin word disciplina, meaning teaching-education) and into a sinister psyche that revolves around the infliction of physical pain and humiliation on another vulnerable human being. Offenders tend to abuse just because they simply can. That is the true definition of power!

Abusers are typically the people that the children mostly entrust. Abuse entails a variety of morbid and sadistic methods ranging from physical to mental, and from sexual to emotional harm.

Despite professional training, many health care practitioners are not sufficiently educated in managing, identifying, assessing, preventing, and treating pediatric victims and offenders.

Muscari and Brown have written the perfect guide to assist and edify healthcare practitioners in pediatric-forensic matters. They accumulated and brought together a great deal of information regarding this important topic in an attempt to simplify and elucidate this subject. Their book will also delineate the importance of understanding childhood victimization and its trends, which might also lead to a better understanding of juvenile offending.

The volume examines new emerging techniques in the field and explores prevention, identification, management methods, quality control, and assessment strategies. It is composed of four sections and appendices.

Section one begins with a general principles section that defines the term forensics and its implication in pediatric practice, including the cycle, continuum, and cultural aspects of violence. It also investigates the effects of violence exposure on children, cultural aspects of forensics, forensic assessment, as well as documentation, principles of evidence, navigating the juvenile justice system, expert witness testimony, and professional stress burnout.

Section two is dedicated to children as victims. It probes child abuse, shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma, Munchhausen syndrome by proxy, sexual exploitation, child abductions, sexual molestation, pornography, prostitution, and the psychological effects of victimization. It also discusses children of incarcerated parents, and supplies providers with prevention techniques and useful instructions on working with abusive and confined parents and their children.

Section three examines juvenile delinquency, and children as offenders. It explains the delinquency in the juvenile justice system, bullying behaviors, school violence, juvenile animal cruelty, arson, juvenile sex offenders, dating violence, as well as the pediatric provider's role in the interdisciplinary team and the preventative techniques they can use to reduce recidivism.

The final section concentrates on unnatural child death investigation, such as sudden unexpected infant and child death, accidents, homicides, filicides, child and adolescent suicides, autoerotic fatalities, and homicide survivors. It also tackles prevention and early detection.

The appendices consist of a variety of topics. Appendix A addresses infant developmental milestones important for sudden unexplained infant death investigations, Appendix B discusses state age parameters in the juvenile justice system, Appendix C provides names and contacts of crime victim compensation programs, and Appendix D provides forms for pediatric and parent assessments. The volume is also equipped with a forensic glossary and a clear index that helps the reader locates the topic or the chapter by name and page number.

Finally, healthcare practitioners will find this book to be an indispensable reference and an essential guide for managing and understanding pediatric victims and offenders. It will provide the reader with an enlightening and comprehensive survey of child and adolescent forensics.

BOOK REVIEWER: Richard Skaff, Psy.D., DABPS, FICPP
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.