Medicine And The Media

The death of childhood

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7097.1839 (Published 21 June 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1839
  1. Dr Charles Essex, consultant community paediatrician
  1. Coventry

    A series of three programmes on Channel 4 recently tackled the emotive subject of child abuse. Dr Charles Essex reflects on whether anything has been learnt

    Sometimes a single word can evoke a memory for a whole nation–Thalidomide, Dunblane, Cleveland. But are those memories correct? In 1987 child sexual abuse seemed to have reached epidemic proportions in a small part of the north east of England. The paediatricians and social workers seemed to be zealots–children who turned up at hospital with minor unrelated symptoms were diagnosed as having been sexually abused, with reflex anal dilatation as the sole criterion, and were taken into care.

    Death of Childhood examined two high profile situations of child …

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