Category Archives: Forensic

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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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

Chapter in book on wrongful allegations of sexual and child abuse

In October 2016 I published Understanding Why and How False Allegations of Abuse Occur: an Overview, Chapter 8 in Wrongful allegations of sexual and child abuse. Edited by Ros Burnett. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 99-117. 2016

See the review of the book by Nigel Hampton QC for the NZ Law Society here

The book can be purchased here