Article type: Original Research

PUBLISHED 1 January 1979

Volume 4 Issue 4

Child Abuse: Professional Paralysis

Christopher R. Goddard


1 Royal Childrens' Hospital, Melbourne

download full pdf


In this composite case study, the names and some details have been altered to protect the innocent, and the guilty.

Sue was nineteen years old and three months pregnant when she came into contact with a hospital. She had successfully concealed the pregnancy and claimed that she had only just realised her predicament. Referred to the social worker, by the time she got around to saying that she wanted an abortion it was too late. Adoption was explored, and she finally agreed, only to later change her mind. As the weeks went by, Sue, and her boyfriend, made no preparations for the birth, and neither of them talked about the expected child with any pleasure. The social worker discovered that both Sue and her boyfriend came from deprived backgrounds. Sue had been beaten and sexually assaulted by her father and was eventually made a State Ward after her father had died and her mother had claimed she was uncontrollable. Her boyfriend had had a history of psychiatric treatment and a criminal record for petty offences.

This PDF has been produced for your convenience. Always refer to the live site for the Version of Record.