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Barriere Bits, Issue #008 – Study Reports Fathers Inflict More Serious Harm
January 15, 2008
Welcome to Barriere Bits, the child abuse information e-zine that will provide you with international child abuse information.

In this issue, you'll find child abuse news from:


When it comes to physical child abuse, fathers break or fracture the bones of their children significantly more often than mothers. According to a recent Child Abuse and Neglect study, dads tend to inflict their abusive rage on infants younger than five months old. The average age of infants who endured skeletal trauma inflicted by males was 4.5 months, in contrast to 10 months for female perpetrators. This finding reflects that men may experience more frustration and discomfort with the parenting of small children. They may also be less experienced dealing with infants, and may not understand, or be able to cope with, normal infant crying patterns.

The study also found a sharp rise in fractures by ALL perpetrators when the child approaches the age of two, suggesting that both mothers and fathers may experience difficulty when a child is at the stage of becoming more independent and is toilet training.

My Comments: Disturbing statistics, but it highlights the very real need to target males for parenting classes, not just females.


An Ontario man who couldn't bear the idea of his newly-estranged wife in a relationship with another man bludgeoned her to death using a baseball bat. John LaFleche then bashed their two sleeping children–Victoria, 7, and Jesse, 3–to death. In his testimony, he stated he wanted to spare them from the abuse he'd suffered as a foster child. The Toronto-born man reportedly suffered physical and emotional abuse by a number of his foster parents when he was in care between 9 - 16 years of age.

Crown attorney, Philip Enright, read from an agreed statement of facts. "He (LaFleche) kept hitting them (the children) with the bat until they ceased breathing." Justice Michael Brown sentenced LaFleche to life imprisonment with no chance of parole until March 2025.

My Comments: Thumbs up to the judge for seeing through this man's twisted excuses for murdering his wife and children! LaFleche's experience does not mirror that of all children in care; and the abuse he suffered certainly didn't justify his homicidal actions. He didn't save his children from a childhood of abuse; he inflicted the most serious of all child abuse when he stole their precious young lives.

United Kingdom:

Scotland is set to implement a national telephone hotline, which will be backed up with an advertising campaign, intended to persuade citizens to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect. The hotline and upcoming media campaign is the result of public outcry with the death of toddler Derek Doran after he ingested methadone that was prescribed for his parent.

My Comments: As soon as the phone number is made available, I will post it on my site, along with the other help lines already listed.


The Department of Child Safety in Queensland announced the deployment of a team of 12 child safety officers to the Cape as part of an assessment and investigation strategy after it was discovered that nearly 2700 cases of suspected child abuse across the state have no assigned case worker. According to a departmental spokeswoman, "The assessment team will travel throughout the Cape and Torres Strait over a six-week period to ensure all current child protection notifications are assessed." The department claimed that none of the unallocated and incomplete assessments were priority one cases – where children are considered to be at very high risk of serious abuse.

My Comments: I'd like to know how the department can possibly claim that none of the yet-to-be-assessed cases are high risk if they haven't yet investigated!


A national debate about how Germany cares for its children, as well as the government's role in protecting children continues in the wake of several recent deaths of children due to child abuse. The government has had to take action in light of these cases.

Last month, Chancellor Angela Merkel called a crisis meeting with the heads of the 16 federal states to launch measures geared toward helping children. They accepted a package that permits the appropriate authorities to take quicker action when there is suspected child abuse or neglect. The package includes regular checkups for babies and toddlers and compels doctors to report suspicious cases. A national integrated database will also be created, the purpose for which is to compile information from social welfare offices, family courts, health care providers, child protection services and the police. The database will facilitate for authorities a more comprehensive profile of each family and provide better risk assessment of violence against children at home.

My Comments: I praise the German government for the implementation of a package that will help children and hopefully prevent child abuse. I do however, question why so many children had to die before measures were finally put into practice.


Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, was found to be the most unsafe city for children in the country, according to the annual report by Indonesia's National Commission for Child Protection. In 2007, there were 365 reported cases of child abuse in Jakarta: 37% involved physical abuse; 32% concerned sexual violence; 31% encompassed mental and psychological assaults on children. The report cited the city's vast slum areas as one of the greatest causes.

My Comments: Children do suffer with the burden of their social-economic environment, and their parents who live under extreme pressure often do pass this stress onto their children in the form of abuse. But it is naive to believe that parents who live in poverty are solely responsible for the child abuse situation in any country. The underlying reasons may be different, but the rich are just as capable of inflicting abuse on their children as the poor.

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Author Bio

Darlene Barriere is a child abuse survivor, a violence and abuse prevention educator and author of On My Own Terms, A Memoir. She lives in semi-arid Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada with her husband, John.

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