Guidance on medical photography of possible physical abuse in children

This guidance, refreshed in June 2019, outlines best practice management of requests from statutory agencies (police / social services) for medical opinion on photographic images of possible physical abuse in children. The guidance is intended to create an agreed practice framework to manage requests.

Referral for medical assessment

Social services and police requesting a medical opinion on photographic images must do so within the context of requesting a medical assessment for possible child abuse or neglect under local and national child protection procedures. 

Paediatricians and forensic physicians should only comment on photographic images in the context of a safeguarding medical assessment and not in isolation. 

Medical assessment

Definitive medical photographs should be taken if the injuries or marks are still visible on clinical examination. 

Medical report

The paediatrician or forensic physician must establish if it is possible to verify the provenance of the photographic images, e.g. via information form police on equipment / devices seized. 

The full guidance can be downloaded below.