Advocacy is not justice: diagnosing child abuse

First published at August 16, 2023

Felicity Goodyear-Smith

Child abuse paediatricians are doctors trained in diagnosing child abuse. They advocate for abused and neglected children and for programmes to prevent child mistreatment, and they consider whether conditions bringing children into hospital might have been caused by abuse. However there are situations where over-zealous paediatricians, in the desire to protect children, wrongly equate specific physical findings as evidence of abuse, with devastating consequences to children and their families.

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Shaken baby syndrome needs a rethink

FIRST PUBLISHED JUL 16, 2023 at Newsroom
Felicity Goodyear-Smith is a professor in general practice at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland.


Shaken baby syndrome needs a rethink

The term Abusive Head Trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome) presupposes an action with malicious intent. These emotive labels should have no place masquerading as a medical diagnosis.
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All the ways you didn’t know you could catch ‘The Clap’ (it’s not just sex)

by Annemarie Quill
First published on Stuff 05:25, May 03 2023

Gonorrhoea can be spread by kissing without any sexual activity, experts say (file photo).

A sexually transmitted disease on the rise in Aotearoa, commonly referred to as ‘the clap’, can be caught from kissing, shared towels and even flies.

And government health advice, which says it can only be transmitted via sexual activity, needs to be updated, experts say.
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From Crime to Care: the History of Abortion in Aotearoa New Zealand – book launch

From Crime to Care - the History of Abortion in New Zealand - book cover

My latest book From Crime to Care will be launched at at 6 pm Thursday 9th  February in the Atrium of the Auckland Medical School (Faculty of Medical & Health Science), 85 Park Road Grafton

From Crime to Care presents the history of abortion in Aotearoa New Zealand from pre-colonial times to the present, weaving in stories and experiences from key people on both sides of the debate. After the first abortion clinic opened in 1974 there were protests and pickets, and the issue shaped our politics in the 1970s. Moral crusaders, activists, legislators, abortion-providers and many others put their reputations and sometimes their lives on the line to do what they thought was right.

The abortion struggle serves as an illustration of our changing political and social landscape, with a public move from conservative towards more liberal values. Finally, after 180 years, abortion in Aotearoa is a health rather than a criminal concern. However, the issue continues to divide people, and events in the United States have shown how quickly change can occur, with their Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and several states banning abortions.

Retail price $39.95, publishing 9 February 2023 ISBN:   978-0-473-66306-03 F

Format: 229 x 152 mm (portrait), 254 pages, paperback plus 12 pages of black & white images (insert)

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Charles-Webb Oration

I was invited to give the Charles-Webb Oration at the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners NSW and ACT Faculties conference in October 2022. My talk was on Improving health outcomes for Pacific people – with them and by them: A co-design research journey to improve the health outcomes for Pasifika in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Invited chapter on false allegations in forensic book

In September I published an invited chapter in Current Practice in Forensic Medicine, Volume 3. Edited by John Gall and Jason Payne-James. Wiley, UK, 2022 368 pages.

Chapter 2. Who makes false allegations and why? The nature, motives and mental health status of those who wrongly allege sexual assault.

This chapter covers the various reasons people make false allegations of sexual assault, both deliberately and unwittingly, and includes many concrete examples.

The book is available here