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Child abuse in Japan has become a social problem, with yearly increases in the number of consultations at child consultation centers. Of the four classifications of child abuse (physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse), Japan has seen a particular increase in emotional abuse. Capturing evidence of child abuse is difficult. Generally, photographs are used as evidence, but the photography requires instructions. Three studies are introduced with alternate methods to enable bruising to be used as evidence of child abuse. First, spectrophotometry is used to digitize the color of skin, and provide scientific evidence of the co-existence of old and fresh bruises. Second, the diagnostic equipment of ultrasonography is used to evaluate the depth and thickness of subcutaneous hemorrhages that are due to bruising and which decrease over time after the bruising had occurred. Ultrasonic diagnosis can evaluate both the depth and thickness of such subcutaneous hemorrhages and illustrate the healing process. Third, forensic light source was used, which effectively uses violet light to enhance the visibility of bruises over time, even after old bruises become yellowish and can be hard to differentiate with the naked eye. These methods are useful for visualizing bruises and for capturing the evidence of child abuse. The methods are currently under study, but application in a clinical setting is expected.

About the authors

S. Mimasaka

Akita University School of Medicine

Author for correspondence.

MD, PhD, Prof., Department of Forensic Sciences,


Russian Federation


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