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17 OCT 2006

SEXUAL ABUSE/EXPERT EVIDENCE: Re Z, I and C (Sexual Abuse Evidence)

(Family Division; HHJ Crispin Masterman; 17 October 2006)

The parents were exonerated of any failure to protect the children, in a case which had parallels with Re Y (Evidence of Abuse: Use of Photographs) [2003] EWHC 3090 (Fam), [2004] 1 FLR 855 in that a demonstrably false diagnosis of chronic sexual abuse had been made, subsequently identified and corrected only with the assistance of an expert from the US. The court endorsed the comments made in Re Y about re-examinations of children, and those concerning the dangers of relying upon a colposcopy photograph in the absence of examination. The court suggested, in addition, that where medical examination raised suspicion of sexual abuse, the child should be examined in more than one position, and that video colposcopy was the best way of avoiding a re-examination of the child. The court drew attention to a number of physical signs which were treated differently by US experts and by UK experts.

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