The Child Abuse Doctors

Dr. David Chadwick introduces readers to the doctors who defined child abuse recognition, reporting, and treatment as we know it today and explains the strides made in the field of child abuse treatment over the years.

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The Child Abuse Doctors


In The Child Abuse Doctors, Dr. David Chadwick details the progress made in the field of child abuse pediatrics and highlights the doctors who paved the way for the current level of abuse recognition, reporting, and treatment.

There have been great advances in the recognition and prevention of child abuse in recent decades, and The Child Abuse Doctors provides a historical perspective of that progress from one of the field’s pioneers—Dr. David L. Chadwick. Beginning by delving into the earliest recorded medical studies of child abuse in the 19th century and following the evolution by examining contemporary concepts, this monograph documents the turbulent history of medical doctors’ efforts to protect children from abuse. Along with those illuminating topics, Dr. Chadwick also underscores different types of abuse and their repercussions in addition to discussing methods for prevention.

Dr. Chadwick was the Director Emeritus of the Center for Child Protection (CCP) at the Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California. Having worked with abused children since 1960, he created the CCP almost 20 years ago when the concept was still relatively new, and he also helped to develop a committee on child abuse in the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Chadwick’s deep involvement in child abuse pediatrics makes The Child Abuse Doctors an accessible and informative resource for anyone—including medical professionals, parents, teachers, and students—who wishes to expand their knowledge on the history of child abuse medicine.

Product Details:

192 pages, 31 images


Pediatricians, Child Advocacy Centers, Social Service Personnel, Child Advocates, Child Abuse Prevention Professionals, Child Protective Services Members, Colleagues of Dr. Chadwick

Publication date:

January  2011


978-1-878060-69-3 (Print)
978-1-936590-09-4 (eBook)

Table of Contents

1. The First Published Medical Recognition of Child Abuse: The Work of Auguste Ambroise Tardieu
2. The Silent Century: 1860-1950
3. The Medical Rediscovery of Physical Abuse by C. Henry Kempe
4. Child Abuse Medical Centers
5. The Rediscovery of Child Sexual Abuse
6. Policies and Politics
7. Health Harms: Health Impairment Resulting from Abuse
8. Forensic Medical Evidence of Maltreatment: Securing Justice, Deterring Crime, and Justifying Coercive Intervention
9. Resistance, Denial, Controversy, and Backlash
10. Treatment for Child Abuse
11. How Doctors and Nurses Prevent Child Abuse
12. Child Abuse Doctors in the United Kingdom
13. Doctors’ Stories: A-C
14. Doctors’ Stories: D-I
15. Doctors’ Stories: J-O
16. Doctors’ Stories: P-Z
17. Organizing Child Abuse Doctors
18. Child Abuse Doctors in the Future

David L. Chadwick, MD

David L. Chadwick, MD, was the Director Emeritus of the Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego. He engaged in clinical work with abused children starting in 1960. In 1961, along with C. Henry Kempe, Leon Eisenberg, and others, he attended a meeting at the Children’s Bureau in Washington drafting the first model child abuse reporting law. He created the Center for Child Protection at Children’s Hospital in San Diego – one of the first in the country – in 1976 and became its director in 1985. It was later renamed the Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego. He also helped to found the San Diego Community Child Abuse Coordinating Council and was instrumental in developing a Committee on Child Abuse in the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University, where he engaged in research on the epidemiology of physical abuse. Dr. Chadwick passed away in January 2020.

View author publications

A pioneer in his own right, having made numerous contributions to the medical literature and establishing the Chadwick Center at San Diego Children’s Hospital, Chadwick’s deep involvement in the field of child abuse medicine gives credence to this text. This monograph will be invaluable for future generations of medical professionals charged with the recognition, treatment, and prevention of child abuse.

Robert M. Reece, MD
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Tufts University School of Medicine
Child Protection Program
The Floating Hospital for Children
Tufts New England Medical Center
Boston, Massachusetts
The Quarterly Update
North Falmouth, Massachusetts

Give due regard to the wisdom of the author; Dr. David Chadwick is a giant in this field. His work has spanned this field from its earliest days with C. Henry Kempe to seminal research on the epidemiology of falls and injury in young children, to recent efforts to involve public health systems. He has been a leader in pushing public health to monitor the occurrence of child abuse and neglect, in developing interdisciplinary evaluations, in developing standards of care and inculcating science into medical conclusions, and in building a constituency of survivors and their families to speak forcefully on the need for prevention. The historical and clinical perspective here gives ample evidence to the force of altruism.

Desmond K. Runyan, MD, DrPH
Professor of Social Medicine & Pediatrics
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
National Program Director
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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