25 Apr 2009


Kate practices the agony face ready for Oprah's big show
Caring parents Kate and Gerry McCann, jet off to the States for this year's anniversary do (is the mug behind them their bodyguard??)
The McCanns on last year's Anniversary do, seems to be the only time they think about looking for their daughter, time is clearly not of the essence

Kate McCann breaks down on Oprah

KATE McCann wept last night as she told TV’s Oprah Winfrey she did not recognise photos of how missing daughter Maddie would look now.

But Kate insisted she WOULD know Maddie — who will be six next month — if she saw her in the street.

Kate, 41, and husband Gerry, 40, appeared on the US chat queen’s show to mark two years since Maddie vanished on holiday in Portugal — just days before her fourth birthday.

Computer-generated images of Maddie aged six in a blue dress flashed on to a giant screen as the show was recorded in front of a studio audience in Chicago.

The pictures were created by experts at Virginia’s National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

Audience member Chris Myers, 43, said: “Kate told Oprah she felt Madeleine was still alive.

“Oprah and Kate were very emotional. Kate broke down on two occasions.

"Oprah had to wipe tears away from her eyes at least three times. The atmosphere inside the studio was very sad.”

Fellow audience member Amy Mundwiler, 33, added: “Everyone watching them felt their pain.”

Oprah will also spend a day in Britain with Gerry and Kate, from Rothley, Leics, and their twins Sean and Amelie, four.

The show — to be screened in 144 countries — goes out in the US on May 4, a day after the anniversary of Maddie’s disappearance.

21 Apr 2009


21 April 2009

21H20, Executive Chef A. E. G. F. P. heard some clamour, which made him leave toward the restaurant, a few meters away, and was then informed that a child had disappeared.
at around 21:40, he left the restaurant passing through the same esplanade where moments before, he had seen the same table occupied by the three couples, empty, who had left in the meanwhile various items, principally clothing. He was told by his colleagues that the child who had disappeared was a child of one of those couples;

Property manager B. J. J. W. heard about the news being investigated on the evening of 3rd May at about 21.30 – 21.40 from P.B., a Dutchman and owner of the Atlántico restaurant, who passed by the witness near the Baptista supermarket, in P da L and who asked for his help in searching for Madeleine. He then went to the place where the events occurred which was at about 21.45 – 21.50. At this time various local people and MW staff were present. When questioned he said that the police had not yet arrived and that about 5 minutes had passed.

Dinner finished at around 21H45 and some minutes passed where waiter R. A.E D. L. O. looked towards the table but saw no one—his colleague told him that all the guests of that table left rapidly and abruptly. He remembers having heard shouts in the direction of the McCann apartment;

Between 21.30 and 22: Fitness instructor/Waiter J. R. S. went over to the table and joked with (Diane Webster): “They’ve left you alone?” She responded more of less with these words: “No, they went to see if the little girl was there.” I responded that I hoped they would find her somewhere in the apartment. At saying this, I saw the man. Who I knew later to be Madeleine’s father, running to the pool and to the children’s play area in the Tapas zone as if looking for someone. It immediately hit me that after talking to the older woman, that the little girl had not been found. I offered to alert the workers at the Milenium Restaurant and the man agreed. He then left again running to continue searching. I believe that this was between 21H30 and 22H00 but do not remember with certainty.

approx. 21.55 pm The Smith Family, (4 adults and 5 children) are returning from 'Kelly's Bar', heading north, all spread out along the street and they pass a man walking down the middle of the street, carrying a child, with the head against his left shoulder and the arms hanging down alongside the body, in light colored or pink pyjamas, bare feet, pale skin typical of British and blond, shoulder-length hair; the girl is about 3-4 years old, about 1 metre tall. - The man is not dressed like a tourist; he's wearing cream or beige trousers, classic cut, of linen or cotton. He is white, 30-35 yrs, 1.70-1.80 meters tall, average build, physically fit, short, brown hair, with a face that looks tanned. (GA)

M. M. M. d. S. declares that on the night 03-05-07, she left the apartment at around 21H58—she remembers the exact time because she asked her friend the time and she responded after checking this on the telephone in the lounge;
. They left the building and the deponent and her boyfriend took the Opel Frontera, previously indicated, which was parked out front of the apartment, in the private parking area of Block 6 where her friend’s apartment was located;
. She declares that the night was good with a breeze, and that it was dark;
. After leaving Block 6, they turned right and after left, passing in front of the block occupied by the McCanns. She states that she saw no movement of people, and that in the immediate areas of the blocks she saw no vehicle with the exception of a small car, that appeared to her grey in colour, parked close to the window of the McCann apartment;
She declares further that she mentioned this fact to her boyfriend and that it wasn’t yet summer given the movement on the roads, and at that hour movement was nill;
. States that she looked at the exit of the apartment and that from the flat above the McCanns, she saw light, and also in from of the apartment, but she could not define, concretely, where she saw the light when she passed the McCann apartment;
. Next to the tree, she did not detect any movement of people or vehicles, and nothing struck her as abnormal in that zone that would have raised her suspicions;

Receptionist Ocean Club H. J. S. L. was on duty and was contacted by a member of staff from the Tapas Restaurant between 21.30 and 22.00 who informed him that the daughter of some guests who were dining there had disappeared. He immediately contacted the GNR in Lagos, shortly after this the child’s father and John Hill arrived at the reception and he phoned the GNR again.

Bar chef M. J. d. S. R. heard about it on that night at about 22.00 when an English tourist arrived at the Millenium restaurant to ask whether anyone had seen a lost little girl.

After 22:00 R. R. S. B. and his wife were still sitting on the veranda in the B. family apartment. They heard noises downstairs and afterwards found out that a child had disappeared. Gerald was seen and spoken to by N.B. and R.R.S.B. They heard him calling for Madeleine when they were sitting on N.B.’s balcony, not far from the McCann’s apartment. They both went down to talk to Gerald and helped in the search.

Between 22H00 and 22H30, waiter J. J. M. B. was in the kitchen, and was alerted, by a colleague, to the fact that a guest entered the restaurant screaming, and at this point, the entire group left in a panic; his colleague proceeded to tell him that the (screaming) individual indicated that a child had gone missing.

about 22.15 Owner of “Duque de Holanda” Bar J. O. W. was working in her bar when some employee who she cannot identify (but whom she knows works for Mark Warner) informed them that a girl had disappeared from the OC.

At about 22.17 Hotel manager E. L. K. received a call from L.J., the Crèche Manager, informing her that the girl had gone missing. She met L.J. and the Service Manager, A.T., near to the Tapas Bar and they initiated the “Mark Warner procedures for the search of a missing child”.

Tennis coach D. J. S. knew about the disappearance of little MBM that same night, about 22h20, because he was contacted by a resort worker having attended and partcipated in the searches.

Tennis coach G.L.J. knew about the disappearance of little MBM that same night, about 22h20, because she lives in the same house as another OC worker and (s)he told her.

22.28 Manager J.H. gets a phone call from L.J., head of the child care service, who told him about a female child staying at the resort who had disappeared. This phone call was made to his mobile phone at about 22.28 on 03-05-2007. About 5 minutes later J.H presented himself at the resort. Upon arriving at the scene he saw about 100 people, employees, guests and residents searching the grounds, the beach and adjoining areas calling out the child’s name.

Head of Maintenance J. C. S. B. was informed about 22.30 by phone by the OC administrator, who had contacted his wife, S.B..

Manager G. R. C. arrived at 22H25 and there found J.H. and other functionaries, S.B., J.B., the former who is employee manager and the latter maintenance; when he arrived at the Ocean Club, he went to the entry of the pool and the restaurant (Tapas) areas of said establishment, having there come across various individuals in the local, all of which were participating in the search for the lost child, and was made up of guests and other people;

At around 22h30, after having left the apartment where she is living, close to the establishment mentioned, together with two more colleagues, also residents there, whose name are Leanne and Sarah, nanny K. M. found her colleague Amy. That during their discussion she was informed that Madeleine McCann had disappeared and that they were looking for her. For this reason, together with her colleagues, they also began searching for Madeleine McCann.

Millennium waitress A. N. d. . heard about the events on the same day at about 22.30 when she was at the restaurant bar where she works, relaxing with her mother and sister. At that moment, a British individual, a tennis instructor entered the restaurant, and told them what had happened, and headed towards the interior of the space where the pool are, looking for the girl. She says that because she had had some alcoholic drinks, she was not in a condition to participate in the searches. However, her sister did take part in the searches, together with her boyfriend.

Just after 22.30 upstairs neighbor Mrs. F. heard the hysterical shouts from a female person, calling out “we have let her down” which she repeated several times, quite upset. Mrs Fenn then saw that it was the mother of little Madeleine who was shouting furiously. Upon leaning over the terrace, after having seen the mother, Mrs. F. asked the father, Gerry, what was happening to which he replied that a small girl had been abducted. When asked, she replied that she did not leave her apartment, just spoke to Gerry from her balcony, which had a view over the terrace of the floor below. She found it strange that Gerry when said that a girl had been abducted, he did not mention that it was his daughter and that he did not mention any other scenarios. At that moment she offered Gerry help, saying that he could use her phone to contact the authorities, to which he replied that this had already been done. It was just after 22.30.

Millinnium restaurant employee D. J. A. V. d. S. stated that an individual, tall and of British nationality, appeared in the restaurant at about 22.30/22.45, who asked him whether he had seen a little girl who had disappeared, describing her as blonde and three years old and that she was probably wearing pyjamas. The witness and his colleague, M.d.F., replied that they hadn’t, upon which the individual ran out.

Millennium waiter G. C. C. C. says that when the events occurred he was working in the restaurant and heard about the disappearance at about 22.30 – 23.00 from a Mark Warner employee (he doesn’t know his name, but he is of English nationality) who, at that moment asked to use a telephone in the bar to make a call as he had received information about the disappearance of the girl on his mobile. He does not know the concrete terms of the conversation but he is clear that something had happened. The employee then left the bar/restaurant. When his shift ended he joined in the searched with his colleague Nelson. He searched until 03.00 AM.

Around 22H45, nanny S. B. O. was in the bar known as ‘Mirage’ together with her colleagues, whose names are Emma, Shinead, Najoua, Hayley and Stacy, which is situated close to the perimeter of the aforementioned resort. After returning from the bathroom, she was informed by her colleague Hayley that a child, of about 3 years of age, and whom was staying at the Ocean Club, had disappeared; she immediately, together with her colleagues, went to the area of a restaurant (Milenium) in the establishment in question near to the bar they were at and began searching for the missing child; during the search, she realised, together with her colleagues of the Ocean Club, others (tourists/owners) were also participating in the search;

22.45/22.50 Manager J. H. went to the apartment being used by the McCanns, where he saw that both members of the couple were in a panic and were shouting that the child had been taken. He always saw the McCanns together in the apartment they were occupying at the time, with the exception of an episode when Gerry went to the main 24 hour reception, with the purpose of speaking to a GNR officer

22.50 pm - First call to GNR Lagos precinct (Guarda Nacional Republicana, rural police); The first call to Police Precinct of GNR (Portuguese Rural Police) in Lagos, reporting a missing child and asking for Police help was made at 10.50pm and a patrol was sent, arriving at Ocean Club 12/15 minutes later, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Costa Cabral, Head of Public Relations of GNR.

About 22.55/23.00 manager E. L. K. went to the McCann’s apartment to obtain the girl’s description and of the clothes she was wearing when she disappeared. When she arrived at the apartment, there was a lady on the terrace, whom she now know to be Kate McCann, accompanied by the wife of one of her friends, David Payne. Kate could not say a word, looked very upset and about to cry. It was Mrs Payne who provided her with the details that she needed.

Head of Maintenance J. C. S. B. arrived at about 23.00 and immediately began to search the resort and the beach area, searching in all the places where the child might be. The searches were carried out by employees from the Tapas and the restaurant who had just finished their shifts and by some local people.

Accountant J. D. N. d. O. N. notes that on May 03, 2007, (Thursday), at around 23H00, at home, in Ramalhete, Casa ***, Praia da Luz, Luz, Lagos, situated close to the OC resort, he noticed “much movement and traffic that was out of the ordinary,” outside (vehicles and individuals passing by frequently) for that time of night. For this reason, he went to look out of his window. Whilst this was happening, he noticed a colleague, J.C.B. (Head of Maintenance at the resort) standing next to his house, who told him what had happened. J.C.B. told him that a child staying at the tourist complex had disappeared.

about 23.00 hrs, OC guest G. McK. approached the McCann’s apartment from the bushes at the rear of the apartment. He was searching the gardens. He did not know it was the McCann’s apartment. He saw Mr Gerry McCann standing alone in the doorway at the rear of the apartment talking on his mobile telephone. Mr McCann was looking our over the swimming pool and did not see Mr McKenzie. Mr McCann was absolutely distraught telling the person receiving the call that he feared “she (Madeleine McCann) had been taken by paedophiles”. He does not know who the person receiving the calls was but presumes it to be a family member: “I worked my way around the area, eventually coming around the back of the tennis courts and up towards what I now know to be the McCanns apartment a couple of hours later. I was looking in the little gardens on the poolside of that block, I was in the end garden when I heard a male voice, he sounded distraught his voice cracking with emotion. I looked to see who I now know to be Gerry McCann stood above me on the balcony/patio about 3 metres away speaking on a mobile phone. I cannot recall his exact words but I got the impression that he was speaking to perhaps a family member or someone he was very close to due to the nature of his conversation. He said something along the lines of there being Paedophile gangs in Portugal and that they had abducted Madeleine. I was so shocked by this, having originally thought that she had just wandered off.”

After she arrived about 23.00 S.B. went immediately to the apartment A5 where she found several people inside the apartment and outside of it. She entered in the flat but soon left without having spoken with anyone, because she was informed that elements of the GNR were in the principal reception. She went there to meet them.
When she came close to the elements of the GNR she found that behind her was
Gerry, Madeleine's father, accompanied by another man whose identity she doesn't remember. Then Gerry kneeled down, hit the floor with both hands, positioning himself as if he were a praying Arab, and screamed twice of anger, what he said being impossible to understand. Then Gerry stand up and accompanied her (the witness) and the other man in the car of the GNR to the apartment A5. S.B. walked Gerry to the GNR car, so he could deliver the requested documents. She states that she carried out these diligences, and other diligences, at the request of the GNR Commander as they used the deponent’s knowledge of the English language to translate the questions that were asked from the missing person’s family members, and the answers that were given. She remembers that Gerry gave the GNR Commander several photographs of the missing person. These were postcard-type photographs, taking their size and shape into account. They were actually photographs of the size and shape of a postcard, and they seemed to be all similar to her.

23.00/23.05 pm - A GNR patrol arrives at Ocean Club (two men); When they arrived they saw the girl’s father, a friend whom GNR Officer N. F. P. d. C. describes as tall and blond, an OC employee and a translator who was also an OC employee, named S.B.. He found it notable that when they were still at the main reception, the father kneeled down, laying his head on the ground and crying, at the same time as making an expression which GNR Officer N. F. P. d. C. did not understand.

Estimated time around 23.10 pm Both David Payne and Matthew Oldfield were seen by E.L.K. when she was on her way to the beach, the search area to which she was assigned by L. J. (child care director and search coordinator).

23:14 Gerry calls Kate (8 seconds)

23:17 Gerry calls Kate (31 seconds)

Estimated time 23.15 - After hearing about the circumstances of the disappearance (from the father with the help of translation) GNR Officer N. F. P. d. C. does not remember whether the word abduction was mentioned, and he went in his police car, to the apartment, accompanied by the father, the friend and the translator.

After hearing about the circumstances of the disappearance (from the father with the help of translation) at a determined moment GNR Officer J. M. B. R. thinks it was the father who told the translator that it was an abduction, at least this is how it was translated. He then went to the apartment, accompanied by his colleague, the father and friend as well as the translator. When he arrived at the apartment he saw the mother there, who opened the wooden door, now referred to as the main door. When he entered, apart from the mother, there were three individuals, one female and two male, whom he cannot identify.

After the search, GNR Officer J. M. B. R. noticed a situation that seemed unusual to him, when at a determined moment, the girl’s parents kneeled down on the floor of their bedroom and placed their heads on the bed, crying. He did not notice any comments or expression from them, just crying. He says that at the main reception the father also knelt down, placing his head on the floor and crying. He did not hear the father say anything.

After the search of the interior, GNR Officer J. M. B. R. went to check the area around the apartments and the Tapas Bar, while GNR Officer N. F. P. d. C. remained next the apartment, just outside it. At that moment a female individual, he does not know whether she was a member of the group of friends, who was in the neighbouring apartment, said that she saw an individual carrying a child, running, and that because of the pyjamas she was wearing it could have been Madeleine. It was in these circumstances that abduction began to be talked about. He made a report about this situation and sent it to the police. This sighting did not seem to him to be very credible, because when he asked her about the physical characteristics of the individual, she said it was very dark, however she saw the pyjamas clearly.

S.B. translated the deposition from one of the ladies that belonged to the group of English people, namely one that she indicates as being a brunette. This lady told the GNR officers, and S.B. translated, that she had seen a man crossing the road, possibly carrying a child. S.B. found that situation strange because she was convinced that when she saw this man, the lady was positioned in a spot that has no viewing angle to the location where she had seen the man. She doesn’t know exactly where the lady was positioned when she saw the man passing by, but she knows that she indicated that she saw him passing on the street that lies in front of the window to the bedroom where Madeleine was, walking into the direction of the street that leads to the Baptista supermarket.

GNR Officer J. M. B. R. found the parents to be nervous and anxious, he did not see any tears from either of them although they produced noises identical to crying. He did not feel that this was an abduction, although this was the line indicated by the father.

S.B. also realised that from the very first moment on, both Gerry and the rest of the group members insisted in stating that Madeleine had been abducted, all of them using the word “abducted” instead of missing, and they all showed great interest in informing the press about the situation.

S.B. further recalls that she entered the room where Madeleine had been sleeping. She now remembers that the door was closed. The inside of the room was dark. The shutters were down, and light entered only through its holes. The windows were closed and the curtains slightly open. Gerry, who accompanied S.B. during this visit, with the GNR officers also present, said that it had been him who had closed the window because the babies were still sleeping inside, which S.B. could verify as true. Gerry mentioned that when he noticed that Madeleine was missing, he had found the window and shutters open, and the curtains fluttering.

S.B. recalls that the cots that were used by the babies were placed in the middle of the room and aligned, and therefore she found it strange that someone could have taken Madeleine from the bed where she was sleeping up to the window, because there was no space to get through. S.B. opened the bedroom’s wardrobe to check if eventually Madeleine was hiding inside. Then they all left the room, and someone closed its door again. The deponent remained in the living room for a while, with the GNR officers, Gerry and the other group members that were there in a frenzy, going in and out and speaking on their mobile phones. She noticed that none of the group members, including the child’s mother and father, were busy looking for her. The mother was sitting on the master bedroom’s bed, the father accompanied S.B. and the GNR officers and the other group members walked in and out and spoke on the phone, apparently concerned about informing the press about the event.

She thought that the child’s mother was downbeat with the situation, the father showed his concern and also asked both for the press to be alerted and for dogs to be brought in for the search. Concerning the others, she can only recall that Fiona and her husband, Payne, were hysterical about the situation.

At about 23.30 a white fair haired man aged about 30, one of the friends of the McCann group was seen by V. K. and her family when he asked them if they had seen Madeleine. They were near to the chapel.

23.20/23.30 Manager J.H. asked hotel manager E. L. K. to go to the apartment the girl had disappeared from and, on behalf of Mark Warner, provide all the help the family might need. She went to the McCann’s apartment, entered by the patio doors and introduced herself to Kate and Mrs Payne. She entered the apartment living room and Kate and Mrs Payne stayed in the main bedroom, from where she could hear them both crying.
The twins were still asleep in the children’s bedroom and the door was half open.
A short while later, Gerry returned to the apartment accompanied by Russell. They also entered by the patio doors. She doesn’t remember the exact sequence of events at this time, but she does remember that she phoned John, who informed her that the police were on their way.

23.30/23.40 A CID team leaves from Portimão to Praia da Luz.

John McCann stated on MSNBC that at ‘twenty to twelve’ 23.40 pm Gerry calls his brother John: "I've got crying for help from my brother and I'm stuck couple of thousand miles away from him. I can't do anything concrete. And then eventually he just said, "I don't know what to think. I think some paedophile or some other swine has taken Madeleine".

23.40 Gerry calls Trish Cameron (11.13 minutes)
"It was my younger brother Gerry distraught on the phone, breaking his heart. He said: 'Madeleine is abducted, she's been abducted'. 'They kept going back to check the kids every half hour. The restaurant was only 40 yards away. He went back at 9 o’clock to check the children. They were all sound asleep, windows shut, shutters shut'.
Kate then went over to the two-bedroom ground-floor apartment and 'came out screaming', said Mrs. Cameron. 'The door was lying open, the window in the bedroom and the shutters had been jimmied open'. "They think someone must have come in the window and gone out of the front door with Madeleine." (timesonline 6 may)
Sandy Cameron statement: “On the night of Thursday, May 3, 2007, Patricia received a telephone call from Gerry informing us of the disappearance of Madeleine. Gerry manifested all those emotions one expects from a father who has lost a child in the circumstances. He was distraught and spoke at the same time he cried. He seemed frustrated with the slowness of the searches in Portugal, with the fact that the borders had not been closed, and with the fact that sniffer dogs were not being used. Patricia and I contacted the British Embassy to try and help in this regard.”

Hotel owner P. R. W. arrived at the scene of the events at about 23.45, there were already many people and police officers.

23.52 Gerry calls Brian and Janet Kennedy (2.30 minutes)

Barman Millennium Restaurant L. M. d. S. B. was dining with his wife, son and friends in a restaurant in P da L, before 24.00 he received a call to his mobile from the fixed network phone in the Millenium restaurant, informing him about the disappearance. It was his colleague Nelson who contacted. He was not asked anything in particular, just informed, however he felt that he should go to the resort, which he did immediately, making himself available for whatever was needed. He remembered that there was great panic amongst all the people looking for Madeleine. He helped search, remaining at the OC until 05.00, searching the entire resort. They did not find anything to help locate the child.

at about 24.00, A. T. was at her desk at the Tapas bar, inside the resort, when at a certain time, one of the friends of the McCann couple, Russell, asked for a USB memory stick reader, in order to print photographs of Madeleine. Immediately the deponent replied that she did not have an USB reader, but that she had a printer with this hardware, which could read from memory sticks. She went to her room and returned to the Tapas with the printer where she printed out 20 to 30 photographs of the girl, using her own paper, in 10x15 format mentioned previously. The memory stick containing the photos belonged to the McCann couple, and came from their camera.

between 00.00 and 00.30, the police arrived, entered by the main door and went to the kitchen with Gerry. Hotel manager E. L. K. went to the bedroom where Kate and Mrs Payne were. Kate was still upset, crying and calling Madeleine’s name, shouting “where is she?” She also banged on the headboard. At that moment Hotel manager E. L. K. went to check on the twins in their room and they were ok. She remembers being in the main bedroom with Kate, Mrs Payne, Gerry, Russell and David who were sitting on the bed and she sat on the floor. At that moment David suggested that the press should be contacted. Russell disagreed, saying they should keep calm and let the police take care of the situation.
At that moment Kate appeared to lose control, crying and constantly asking “where is she?” whilst banging on the bed.
Gerry remained calm throughout. On one occasion Kate and Gerry both went to the main bedroom and Hotel manager E. L. K. could hear both of them crying.

0.00.27 am Kate calls Sue and Brian Healy (128 seconds)

0.05.00 am Gerry calls Brian and Janet Kennedy (3 seconds)

0.05.45 am Gerry calls Trish Cameron (3 seconds)

0.06.15 am Gerry calls Brian and Janet Kennedy (2.47 minutes)

0.13.14 am Gerry calls Trish Cameron (3 seconds)

0.13.50 am Kate calls Sue and Brian Healy (407 seconds)

0.21.36 am Gerry calls Trish Cameron (23 seconds)

0.23.12 am Gerry calls …. (3.55 minutes)

0.27.07 am Trish Cameron calls Gerry (2.28 minutes)

0.29.37 am Angela Morado at UK Consulate calls Gerry (4.53 minutes)

0.36.21 am Kate calls … (31 seconds)

0.37.05 am voicemail calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

0.38.40 am … calls Gerry (6.40 minutes)

0.39.58 am Kate calls voicemail (34 seconds)

0.40.50 am voicemail calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

0.45.15 am Brian and Janet Kennedy call Gerry (1.18 minutes)

0.45.49 am Kate calls voicemail (31 seconds)

0.47.23 am … calls Kate (2.39 minutes)

0.47.41 am Angela Morado at UK Consulate calls Gerry (2.15 minutes)

0.53.08 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

PJ Officer V. M. M. arrived on the scene at about 00.40/00.50.
At the scene, there were already some elements from the GNR and some people walking around the OC grounds, searching for the child.
In the apartment where the family was staying, there were different persons, including the friends of the girl’s parents, who were immediately invited to leave the apartment, in order to preserve the scene.
Inside the room that was indicated as being that of the missing girl, there were two children, babies, who appeared to sleeping in two cots placed in the middle of the room.
A request was made to the OC services director for the family to be re-allocated and accordingly the babies were taken out of the room, so that the site could be searched.
The OC services manager introduced him to the missing girl’s parents, who looked quite tired and anguished, particularly the mother who appeared more upset and was therefore less receptive to conversation, which led the witness to converse only with the girl’s father.
After the site had been isolated, he proceeded to make an inspection, together with the inspection and photographic report carried out by Deputy Specialist J.B..

Deputy Specialist J. B. arrived about 00.40/00.50.
When they arrived at the scene, which they immediately identified due to the presence of GNR officers, as well as quite a lot of people who were walking around the street searching for the child, they immediately went to the apartment in question, where they found several people, including some GNR officers, as well as the head of the Lagos GNR station.
He states that the people inside the apartment and close to it, entered and left the building and circulated in the whole apartment, completely freely, in other words, without there being any restriction or care in preserving the scene. .
He said that these people were the friends of the parents of the missing girl and a lady responsible for the resort called S.B..
He was shown the room the child had disappeared from, having noticed that people also entered and left that room without any care in the sense of preserving traces. Inside this room there were two children, babies, sleeping in two cots placed in the middle of the room.
It was requested that the babies were moved, which was done accordingly, the witness having subsequently put his gloves on to begin the on-site inspection.
At that moment one of the GNR officers told the witness that they had already searched for the girl in the wardrobes and other places in the apartment without having taken any care as to leaving their own traces or for destroying or adulterating any traces that might be of interest to the investigation. The witness states that, at a given moment, the father of the missing girl led him to understand that he had already contacted the Sky News TV station and informed them of the situation.
As much the father as the girl’s mother looked quite worried with the situation and he can even confirm that the mother was very agitated and out of control, crying a lot and shouting in an uncontrolled manner, saying in English “They have taken her”. He remembers that he remained on the scene until about 04.00.

Estimated time between 0.30 and 1.00 am Two timelines written by Russel O’Brien on the covers ripped off Madeleine’s stickerbook are provided to the GNR officers.

Sometime between 0.30 and 1 a.m Kate calls her parents: "I had a phone call from Kate asking me to contact Father P.S. He’s a friend of Kate and Gerry’s. Paul married Kate and Gerry and baptised Madeleine and she needed to speak to him".

Sometime between 0.30 and 1 am, A.G., the owner of a bar at the marina in Vilamoura got a phonecall from an old customer: P.P., the human resources director from a public English organism. She calls him, upset: "She told me the daughter of British friends of her, who were vacationing close to Lagos, had disappeared over 3 hours ago, that they were completely alone and that nobody was helping them to search for her". P.P. confirms she was at Kate's parents house at the time.

At about 01.00 Matthew Oldfield was with J. H. (resort manager) when they knocked on Jeremy Wilkins’s door to ask if he had seen anything. It was them who told what had happened. Jez did not take part in any searches. He offered his help but was told it was not necessary.

1.02.08 am … calls Kate (2.23 minutes)

1.16.11 am Gerry calls A. M. UK Consulate(1.57 minutes)

1.29.58 am Phil McCann calls Gerry (3.36 minutes)

At about 1.30 that morning Kate called Father P. S. in a state of great agitation. He tried to calm her as well as he could saying that Madeleine could have had a bout of sleepwalking and that she would be all right. He remembesr that Kate was worried by the fact that Madeleine was wearing short sleeved pyjamas and that she could catch a cold. He felt that only a mother could think like that and say such a thing. He could perceive the trauma that Kate was experiencing from her voice. He led with prayers and other situations in his role as priest.
Gerry phoned him on the same night and he also seemed to me to be quite traumatised and at the same time very upset and angry. His Scottish accent, which was normally very slight, became so heavy that his sentences were almost incomprehensible

1.43.55 am … calls Gerry (3.29 minutes)

Estimated time: between 1.30 and 2.00 am Hotel manager E. L. K. remembers the police asking everyone to leave the apartment. She received a call from John informing her that he had arranged for another apartment for the McCanns. She went to reception and helped Lyndsey to move the two cots to the new apartment
The McCanns went to the new apartment and she remembers seeing Kate and Mrs Payne seated on the sofa, each holding one of the twins.

S. B. states that right after the PJ’s elements arrived, the child’s parents removed the twins from the cots where they still slept, and took them into the apartment on the first floor. At Kate’s request, the deponent removed the soft toys and a blanket from the cots, and also took them to the first floor. The babies’ cots were left only with the mattresses.

2.07.03 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

2.18.29 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

2.20.03 am Kate calls … (0 seconds) SMS

2.21.12 am Kate calls … (0 seconds) SMS

2.23.27 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

2.27.28 am Kate calls … (27 seconds)

Before 2.30 am (the time he left the scene) GNR Officer J. M. B. R. refers to a situation when he was searching outside, near the pool, that someone from the OC whom he cannot identify, passed him a mobile phone, as a British Consulate employee who spoke in Portuguese, wanted to talk to the authorities. Upon speaking to him, he told him that the investigation and subsequent actions were under the responsibility of the PJ.

about 02.00/02.30, as the child had not been found, PJ Inspector M. J. P. d. L. Q. decided to contact SEF at Faro airport with the aim of alerting them in case anyone would board accompanied by some child, whoever she was and those accompanying her should be duly identified, however the various calls made were not attended. In the face of this situation he contacted the Faro Station from the police and told them what was going on and asked them to alert the SEF.
He also decided to alert the GNR in Lagos so that they would send out a warning so that the car and foot patrols that were out on the ground would pay attention and identify cars with people out driving at that time who were accompanied by a child (children).

2.38.58 am Lynda and Mark call Kate (9.45 minutes)
“On the morning of 4 May 2007 the mother of Kate telephoned my mother who, in turn, telephoned me. My mother told me that something terrible had happened, that somebody had taken Madeleine. I later sent a text message to Kate that same night and
I spoke with her on the telephone. She was hysterical, saying only that she wanted to be able to hug Madeleine. She was worried by the fact that there were only two police officers in the place and thought that the police were not helping her with anything. She continued to speak about Madeleine, of the cold that she could feel since she was dressed only in pyjamas and continued to look at the situation from the perspective of Madeleine. She told me that Gerry was outside to find the girl and during the following day we spoke on the telephone and we frequently sent messages [to each other].”

2.53.49 am Kate calls Michelle and Jon (16 seconds)

GNR Officer N. F. P. d. C. refers to a situation at about 02 or 03.00, that the parents asked for a priest and his colleague had tried to contact one on his mobile, but did not manage to find one.
Hotel Manager E. L. K. remembers that on the night Madeleine disappeared, Kate wanted to contact the local priest, but it was not possible to reach him by phone.
S. B. mentions that at around 3 a.m. Madeleine’s parents asked for the presence of a priest on location. They didn’t explain the reason why they wanted a priest, but the deponent found the fact strange as there were no indications that the little girl was dead, and that’s the circumstance under which usually the presence of a priest is requested.

3.05.03 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

3.06.17 am Kate calls … (0 seconds) SMS

3.06.54 am Kate calls Michelle and Jon (5 seconds)

3.07.38 am Kate calls Jon Corner (3 seconds)

3.07.57 am Kate calls Michelle’s cellphone (3 seconds)

3.08.33 am Kate calls Michelle and Jon (3 seconds)

3.09.05 am Kate calls Michelle and Jon (4 seconds)

3.10.29 am Kate calls … (10 seconds)

3.20.21 am Kate calls Michelle and Jon (14 seconds)

3.23.28 am Jon Corner calls Kate (184 seconds)

3.28.46 am Jon Corner calls Kate (416 seconds)
Michelle Thompson statement: “Kate must have tried Jon’s mobile once as we stirred when it rang at about 03h20. Jon spoke briefly with Kate and then called her around 03h30. I knew that Kate and Gerry were on holidays in Portugal. Kate was very anguished and on the telephone and told me that she had checked on the children every half-hour. It was around 22h00, and when she went to check on the children she found that someone had entered the apartment and taken Madeleine from where she slept; that Madeleine had been abducted. The person must have entered, passed by the twins and taken her.
Kate continued that when she entered the apartment via the patio doors, a breeze hit her in the face as if a door or window was open. When she entered the children’s room, the window was open, the blind had been forced and Madeleine had disappeared. Kate urged me to call all the close family and to ask them to pray for Madeleine. My family is catholic and Kate knew this. Even though I am catholic, I have to admit that Kate has more faith than I. I did not speak to Gerry that night.”

3.31.13 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

3.55.21 am Jon Corner calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

3.55.56 am Kate calls Jon Corner (0 seconds) SMS

4.03.44 am Jon Corner calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

4.05.40 am Kate calls Jon Corner (0 seconds) SMS

4.12.33 am Kate calls Jon Corner (0 seconds) SMS

4.14.41 am Gerry calls … (01 seconds) SMS

4.15.23 am Gerry calls … (01 seconds) SMS

4.15.43 am Gerry calls … (01 seconds) SMS

4.19.02 am Sue and Brian Healy call Gerry (01 seconds) SMS

4.20.34 am John McCann calls Gerry (01 seconds) SMS

4.22.12 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

Hotel manager E. L. K. left the new apartment at 04.30 in the morning after instructions from J.H. She was the last to leave, the police had already left, but she left her number saying that she was available for anything that might be needed.

4.31.30 am Jon Corner calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

4.31.41 am Jon Corner calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

4.36.30 am … calls Kate (17.27 minutes)

4.52.16 am Kate calls Jon Corner (0 seconds) SMS

4.55.54 am Kate calls … (0 seconds) SMS

During the early morning in question PJ Inspector M. J. P. d. L. Q. received some telephone calls from people whom, with the exception of one, expressed themselves in Portuguese to ask whether an English girl had really disappeared in Lagos and about what was being done with relation to this and he informed them that this was true and that inquiries were being made in order to find her. One of these calls, from the person who did not express themselves in Portuguese but in English and which was received between 04.30 and 05.30, was made by someone who identified themselves as being from the Sky News TV chain and who requested the same information mentioned earlier.

6.02.08 am Mum mob calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

6.04.11 am Kate calls Mum mob (0 seconds) SMS

6.05.29 am Kate calls Amanda home (7.02 minutes)

6.08.17 am Jon Corner calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

6.18.17 am Kate calls Jon Corner (0 seconds) SMS

6.34.53 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

6.35.23 am Kate calls … (0 seconds) SMS

6.39.38 am Kate calls Jon Corner (0 seconds) SMS

6.47.42 am Jon Corner calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

6.47.54 am Jon Corner calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

6.48.05 am Jon Corner calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

6.59.12 am Jon Corner calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

6.59.44 am Kate calls Jon Corner (0 seconds) SMS

07.00 am GNR Officer P. J. F. N. saw the McCann couple at about 07.00 alone in the street next to the site where they were stationed.

7.06.06 am Sue and Brian Healy call Gerry (01 seconds) SMS

7.09.04 am John McCann calls Gerry (3.26 minutes)

7.15.19 am Gerry calls Angela Morado UK Consulate (4.51 minutes)

7.23.20 am … calls Gerry (5.53 minutes)

7.41.14 am Jill mob calls Kate (3.30 minutes)

7.44.48 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

7.46.36 am Kate calls … (0 seconds) SMS

7.48.12 am … calls Kate (373 seconds)

7.51.14 am … calls Kate (1.26 minutes)

8.06.14 am mum mob calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

8.07.52 am Kate calls mum mob (0 seconds) SMS

8.11.35 am Jill mob calls Kate (1.56 minutes)

8.21.21 am Jill mob calls Kate (153 seconds)

8.27.26 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

8.28.30 am Kate calls … (0 seconds) SMS

8.29.56 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

8.31.00 am Kate calls Michelle mob (3 seconds)

8.31.21 am Jill mob calls Kate (2.33 minutes)

8.34.09 am Kate calls … (32 seconds)

8.34.19 am Kate calls Jon Corner (61 seconds)

8.34.59 am voicemail calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

8.35.15 am Gerry calls Angela Morado, UK consulate (1.43 minutes)

8.35.21 am Kate calls voicemail (20 seconds)

8.36.03 am Kate calls voicemail (37 seconds)

8.45.20 am Kate calls … (136 seconds)

8.50.27 am Gerry calls Angela Morado, UK consulate (4.47 minutes)

8.51.42 am Kate calls … (0 seconds) SMS

8.52.41 am Kate calls Jon Corner (73 seconds)

8.56.15 am Kate calls Nuala (47 seconds)

8.57.17 am Jill mob calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.01.55 am … calls Gerry (1.46 minutes)

9.04.16 am … calls Gerry (1.28 minutes)

9.05.38 am anonymous number calls Gerry (2.12 minutes)

9.09.32 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.09.44 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.09.56 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.10.39 am Kate calls … (0 seconds) SMS

9.12.04 am Geteesha mob calls Kate (262 seconds)

9.14.28 am UK consulate in Portugal calls Gerry (3.58 minutes)

9.16.07 am … calls Gerry (1 second)

9.25.51 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.26.03 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.29.18 am Jill mob calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.33.11 am Michelle & Jon call Kate (5.35 minutes)

9.34.42 am Voicemail calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.45.21 am Fiona & Richard call Kate (1.45 minutes)

Estimated time 9.45 am Social worker Y. M. met the McCann couple next to the apartment from where the child had disappeared, accompanied by a third person, a male, who seemed quite familiar to her.
- This third person of the group appeared to be an intimate (friend) of the family as he was the one who, when the media arrived, began to explain what was happening and answering questions, thereby saving the couple from this upset. Afterwards, she further confirmed his closeness to the family when she saw him taking care of the couple’s twins, also small children.
- She identified herself and presented her credentials and immediately began talking to the mother of the missing child as she was visibly upset with the situation.
- During the conversation the mother told her that she did not understand why a couple had abducted her daughter.
Because she found it strange that Kate told her that her daughter had been taken by a couple, she tried to separate her from the other two individuals so that she could speak to her with more privacy, suggesting to Kate that they (Y and K) should enter the apartment, Kate aggressively rejected this idea and told her that they could speak on the street.
The witness then asked whether anyone from the Medical Centre had been with Kate as she was very agitated and needed some support, she was told they hadn’t.
At this point, Kate told her that her daughter had disappeared 13 hours ago. It was about 10 in the morning.
- However, the third individual overheard this conversation and interrupted Ms. Martin and took the McCann couple away from her.
- This same individual came shortly afterwards to tell her that the couple did not want to talk to her any further and did not require her help—an action that appeared quite strange to her.
- Meanwhile, she heard comments next to the complex reception that the British Consul was coming to the site and she decided to wait for this person in order to offer her help.
- During this time, she saw the third individual two more times. Firstly, when he was accompanying an older woman and the McCann twins, demonstrating in this way, the trust that the couple had in him by letting him take care of their two children. On the second occasion, he accompanied what appeared to her to be plain clothed police officers.
--YVONNE describes the third individual as follows:
Aged about 35 years
Of about 1,80 metres in height
Of normal physical appearance
Having short, dark hair
Using graduated glasses of small dimensions with rectangular lenses
Having a round face
Presenting a scar above his eyebrow and on his left cheek
Speaking with a Southern English accent
Wearing light trousers, cream or beige coloured, and a dark polo shirt.
– When she was back home, following the case on English television, she saw the same individual and this time, her initial doubt faded and she concluded that she had seen the face in the course of her professional activity in child protection, not being able to discern if he was a suspect/arguido or witness
- She clarifies that she is capable of making a photographic identification of the individual, and emphasises that with the identified photo it is possible to access the database of the British Police and ascertain whether the individual is related to any crimes involving children

9.46.24 am Jill mob calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.47.48 am Kate calls voicemail (58 seconds).

9.49.50 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.50.23 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.50.38 am Kate calls … (0 seconds) SMS

9.58.53 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.59.20 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

9.59.31 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

10.01.06 am … calls Kate (0 seconds) SMS

10.00 am, 12 hours after the disappearance, the British Consul from Portimão arrives. PJ tell him all that is going on. He is not satisfied and is heard talking on the phone saying the "PJ are doing nothing. " (GA)


on 4 May, the parents authorized the police to look at their cellphones to check for calls made and received:

Kate's phone: no calls made from 27April to 4 May; she received no calls from 11h22 on 2 May until 23h17 on 3 May

Gerry's phone: nothing prior to 00h15 on 4 May

However, inside Kate's phone there is a record of a call received from Gerry at 11h17, 3 May. But no record of the call on Gerry's phone. It had been erased. (GA).


by Kazlux

Thank Kazlux Joana & astro.



As discussion has mounted about the information on files that suggest David Payne and Gerry McCann in particular may be interested in paedophilia it is interesting to receive this report from Portugal. Who are these British paedophiles that UK wanted kept confidential?

Portuguese paedophiles named in Maddie case

Data about the English was hidden from the process, but no secrecy was requested for Portuguese suspects

by Tânia Laranjo

The PJ investigated 15 sexual abusers from the city of Portimão, within the Maddie case. All of them are reintegrated and only one was in prison again at the date. Contrary to the English paedophiles who were investigated during this inquiry, whose elements are blocked by judicial secrecy, the data of the Portuguese are public.

The decision to remove the English predators’ dossier from the process was not applied to the cases that involved Portuguese citizens. In the first volume, there is a report of an external diligence in which the PJ runs an exhaustive analysis on the life of 15 individuals who reside in Portimão and have been referenced over sexual practises with children or adolescents.

As far as the Portuguese paedophiles are concerned, six investigators searched for the trail of the suspects and checked whether or not it was possible for them to have been involved in the little girl’s disappearance. In none of the situations any clue was discovered, and the authorities verified that they all reside in Portimão – except for one, who was in prison – and were integrated.

There was even one case, in a real estate agency, where owner and employee had already been involved in cases of paedophilia. But none of them had been in Luz on the night of the 3rd of May, the date when Maddie was seen for the last time.

Apart from that service information which was compiled by the PJ, other sex predators were checked out. Some of them Portuguese, but also English, who were denounced by various means.

Information exchange

When the possibility of the process being archived was mentioned – with the immediate breaking of the judicial secrecy – the English rushed to Portimão. At the court, they requested for some parts of the process to remain under secrecy, defending that the same should prevail concerning the exchange of information between both countries. The data that covered the paedophiles was one of those preoccupations. The requests were granted and the dossier was kept in the office of the prosecutor who was responsible for the case.

Algarvians want the list made public

The Algarvians are indignant at the fact that the list of English paedophiles that reside in Southern Portugal is being hidden from the PJ. The general feeling is that at least the national authorities should have access to the list with the names of condemned individuals.

This is the case of Carina Encarnação, aged 24, and a student at the Algarve University, who says that “the police must know about this matter; it has to be divulged”.

On the other hand, António Vasco, a personal trainer, aged 39, when confronted with the information that CM advanced in its Sunday edition, was surprised and “speechless”, even more so because, as he mentions, “the PJ’s obligation is to find out about everything”. With quite firm opinions about the matter, he also considers the possibility that if the list is being held back by the Attorney General’s Office, that is because “the prosecutor probably doesn’t want the list to be known”. And he fails to understand the reason for the secrecy.

For Verónica Soares, aged 23, a student, “it makes no sense that in a matter of such importance, the PJ is denied access to the informations”.

For Joaquim Amaral, aged 80, retired, this is not a “strange” case, which he says with some irony.

“In every two Englishmen, there are three paedophiles”, he says, in a critical tone about Her Majesty’s subjects. And therefore, “it’s obligatory for the police to have immediate access” to the evidence, he defends.

Parents advanced abduction theory

The abduction theory, which was immediately advanced by the parents, was based on the possibility that the little girl might have been taken by a paedophile network.

All possibilities were evaluated by the Polícia Judiciária, but nothing was confirmed. No suspect was found, residing in the Algarve, who ever crossed paths with Maddie. There was even the case of an English paedophile who asserted that abduction for paedophilia was impossible, because the little girl was too young.

PJ tried to collect residues in the bedroom

The Polícia Judiciária collected several residues at the Ocean Club, in the village of Luz.

The technicians searched for fingerprints, DNA records, but nothing was found. The only vestige that was found inside the bedroom where Maddie disappeared from, matched another child that had been on holidays there, a few months before.

Profiles matched suspicions

The profiles of Robert Murat and Sergey Malinka were a “perfect” match for potential suspects over the abduction of Maddie.

Robert Murat was the overly helpful translator who had even tried, at a given moment, to find out details about the process during the questionings that he assisted. On the other hand, a witness that said he knew him as a child, also spoke about suspicions of sexual abuse, which led the PJ to admit that he might be part of a paedophile network.

His Russian friend, Sergey Malinka, with whom he had contacted on the night the little English girl disappeared, also had a past that raised serious doubts with the Portuguese investigators. In the phone taps that he was subject to, the Judiciária even admitted that Malinka could be entertaining an overly close relationship with an underage girl.

At the time, the English experts asserted that both fit the profile of possible sex predators.


English Dogs – The evidence that was collected by the dogs that detected cadaver odour and traces of blood were sent to the English lab, which is considered to be one of the world’s best. But experts never managed to precisely determine the collected DNA, although it was similar to that of the English girl.

Initial collaboration – During the first few months, the English showed an almost limitless collaboration with the Polícia Judiciária. But after Maddie’s parents were made arguidos, the discomfort with the investigation became visible.

Anniversary – The anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance is not to be celebrated in Praia da Luz. The parents, Kate and Gerry, chose to participate in an American television programme.

Preventive measures – Some of the English paedophilia suspects spoke to the English authorities to inform them about their activities on the days before and after Maddie’s disappearance. They did this as in a preventive manner.

Locked dossier – The dossier that contains the paedophiles’ data is not accessible, not even for the PJ, that could use the data to investigate cases involving Portuguese children.

source: Correio da Manhã, 21.04.2009


A personal comment on this article from Correio da Manhã:

I checked my copy of the DVD files, and the fact is that I found a mention of the diligence involving the investigation of paedophiles in the Portimão area, in the index that is published on page 4518 of the process (volume 17).

But it is also a fact that my copy of the DVD, which is similar to those that were distributed to journalists during the summer of 2008, omits pages 293 - 300 in volume 2, where supposedly the information about the Portuguese paedophiles is published.

I add this info for the sake of more complete information, not to refute Correio da Manhã's article in any manner.

http://joana-morais.blogspot.com/2009/0 ... addie.html

11 Apr 2009


Smirking maniac - in love with his "media circus" no love for little Madeleine.
Burden and consequences of child maltreatment in high-income countries
Original Text
Prof Ruth Gilbert MD a Corresponding AuthorEmail Address, Prof Cathy Spatz Widom PhD b, Prof Kevin Browne PhD c d, David Fergusson PhD e, Elspeth Webb FRCPCH f, Prof Staffan Janson DM g
Child maltreatment remains a major public-health and social-welfare problem in high-income countries. Every year, about 4—16% of children are physically abused and one in ten is neglected or psychologically abused. During childhood, between 5% and 10% of girls and up to 5% of boys are exposed to penetrative sexual abuse, and up to three times this number are exposed to any type of sexual abuse. However, official rates for substantiated child maltreatment indicate less than a tenth of this burden. Exposure to multiple types and repeated episodes of maltreatment is associated with increased risks of severe maltreatment and psychological consequences. Child maltreatment substantially contributes to child mortality and morbidity and has longlasting effects on mental health, drug and alcohol misuse (especially in girls), risky sexual behaviour, obesity, and criminal behaviour, which persist into adulthood. Neglect is at least as damaging as physical or sexual abuse in the long term but has received the least scientific and public attention. The high burden and serious and long-term consequences of child maltreatment warrant increased investment in preventive and therapeutic strategies from early childhood.
This is the first in a Series of four papers about child maltreatment
Maltreatment of children by their parents or other caregivers is a major public-health and social-welfare problem in high-income countries. It is common and can cause death, serious injury, and long-term consequences that affect the child's life into adulthood, their family, and society in general. The 2006 WHO report on prevention of child maltreatment1 drew attention to the need for this topic to achieve the prominence and investment in prevention and epidemiological monitoring that is given to other serious public-health concerns with lifelong consequences affecting children—such as HIV/AIDS, smoking, and obesity—and it recommended expansion of the scientific evidence base for the magnitude, effects, and preventability of the problem. This Series of four papers critically assesses this expanding evidence base with the aim of informing policy and practice relating to child maltreatment. We focus mainly on high-income countries and eastern European countries that are in economic transition, since the problem and systems for response differ in low-income and many middle-income countries. In this first paper of the Series, we aim to quantify the magnitude of the problem, its determinants, and consequences. The second charts the evidence underpinning recognition and response by professional agencies dealing with children. The third assesses what works for prevention of child maltreatment and associated impairment, and the final paper discusses how consideration of children's rights could enable a more coherent and effective approach to child maltreatment.
Key messages

A substantial minority of children in high-income countries are maltreated by their caregivers
Repeated abuse and high levels of neglect mean that for many children maltreatment is a chronic condition
Parental poverty, low educational achievement, and mental illness are often associated with child maltreatment
Child maltreatment has longlasting effects on mental health, drug and alcohol problems, risky sexual behaviour, obesity, and criminal behaviour, from childhood to adulthood
Neglect is at least as damaging as physical or sexual abuse in the long term, but has received the least scientific and public attention
The high burden and serious, longlasting consequences of child maltreatment warrant increased investment in preventive and therapeutic strategies from early childhood

Burden of child maltreatment and definitions
Child maltreatment encompasses any acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that result in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child (usually interpreted as up to 18 years of age), even if harm is not the intended result.2 Four forms of maltreatment are widely recognised: physical abuse; sexual abuse; psychological abuse, sometimes referred to as emotional abuse; and neglect. Increasingly, witnessing intimate-partner violence is also regarded as a form of child maltreatment. Consensus definitions place responsibility for safeguarding children from maltreatment on all caregivers, including teachers, trainers, or child minders (table 1).2 In practice, however, 80% or more of maltreatment is perpetrated by parents or parental guardians, apart from sexual abuse, which is mostly perpetrated by acquaintances or other relatives (table 1).
Click to open table
Table 1Table imageOpens in a new browser window
Definitions of child maltreatment
Reliable measurement of the frequency and severity of child maltreatment is not straightforward. We review three types of studies that measure the frequency of maltreatment. The first two types are community studies based on self-reports from victims who are old enough to comply with surveys, or studies based on parents reporting severe physical punishment or patterns of care. The third type involves official statistics from agencies investigating victims (eg, child-protection services) or police (investigating victims and offenders). All these measures have biases and inconsistencies: thus the prevalence figures in panel 1 are presented as a range of estimates. Despite the uncertainty of these estimates, the gap between the low rates of maltreatment substantiated by child-protection agencies and the ten-fold higher rates reported by victims or parents underlines the fact that only a few children who are maltreated receive official attention.25—27 Studies that have linked self-reports to official statistics for child protection provide direct evidence of under-reporting to agencies. One study reported evidence of contact with child-protection services in only 5% of children who were physically abused and 8% of those sexually abused.26 Another showed that even children who were being monitored by agencies reported four to six times more episodes of abuse than did official records.28
Panel 1
Burden of maltreatment—prevalence of maltreatment in the past year per child population or cumulative prevalence during childhood
Agency reports
UK (England)

1·50% of children were estimated to have been referred to social services for abuse (excluding neglect and intimate-partner violence);6 the rate for all social welfare referrals for children (<18 years) in 2007 was 4·96% per year7
0·84% of all social welfare referrals were estimated to have been investigated for abuse;6 2·77% of children were investigated in 2007
0·30% of children started on a child-protection plan in 2007 (previously child protection registration);7 reports according to primary reason were: neglect 44%, physical abuse 15%, multiple 10%, psychological abuse 23%, and sexual abuse 7%


4·78% of children were investigated in 20063
1·21% of children were substantiated in 2006; primary reasons were: neglect 60%, physical abuse 10%, multiple 12%, psychological abuse/unknown 11%, and sexual abuse 7%


2·15% of children were investigated in 20038
0·47% of children remained suspicious8
0·97% of children were substantiated; primary reasons were: neglect 38%, physical abuse 23%, psychological abuse 23%, and sexual abuse 9%


3·34% of children were referred in 2002—039
0·68% of children were substantiated; primary reasons were: neglect 34%, physical abuse 28%, psychological abuse 34%, and sexual abuse 10%

Self-reported maltreatment or parent-reported perpetration
Physical abuse

3·7—16·3% (5—35% cumulative) of children per year experienced severe parental violence or worse, which is likely to place child at risk of harm; typically included studies classified hitting with fist/object, kicking, biting, threatening/using a knife/weapon as severe violence (review includes studies in UK, USA, New Zealand, Finland, Italy, and Portugal);10, 11 slapping, hitting, and grabbing were classified as minor violence and are not counted in the figures shown here
12·2—29·7% is the yearly prevalence of physical abuse for Macedonia, Moldova, Latvia, and Lithuania12
24—29% is the cumulative prevalence of physical abuse for Siberia, Russia, and Romania13, 14

Psychological abuse

10·3% is the yearly prevalence of psychological abuse (verbal abuse by adults or told not wanted; US study)15
4—9% is the cumulative prevalence based on categories consistent with severe emotional abuse (studies in Sweden, USA, and UK)16—18
12·5—33·3% is the yearly prevalence of severe or moderate psychological abuse reported for four eastern European states (Macedonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Moldova)12

Sexual abuse

Cumulative prevalence of any sexual abuse: 15—30% for girls and 5—15% for boys; cumulative prevalence of penetrative sexual abuse: 5—10% for girls and 1—5% for boys (any sexual abuse includes non-contact, contact, or penetrative abuse); figures are taken from population-based studies in developed countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and USA)4, 19
Similar results were derived in a meta-analysis by Andrews and colleagues20 of studies worldwide (93 for boys and 143 for girls): estimates of childhood prevalence rates were: non-contact sexual abuse (3·1% boys, 6·8% girls); contact sexual abuse (3·7% boys, 13·2% girls); penetrative sexual abuse (1·9% boys, 5·3% girls); and any sexual abuse (8·7% boys, 25·3% girls)


1·4—15·4% is the incidence15, 21 (6—11·8% cumulative childhood prevalence17, 22) of persistent absence of care or provision likely to place a child at risk of harm (eg, not enough food, no medical care when needed, no safe place to stay,15 serious absence of care,17 or in maternal reports—child hurt because of lack of supervision,21 self-report and maternal-report studies from USA and UK)

Witnessing intimate-partner violence*

10—20% is the yearly prevalence estimates based on a review of US community studies by Carlson.23 Few recent studies have been undertaken
8—25% is the childhood prevalence of witnessing intimate-partner violence—cross-sectional surveys of adolescents and adults18, 24

* This category is not included in child-protection reports, therefore not listed in first part of panel.
The discrepancies between official statistics and community studies are even more substantial when examined by age at maltreatment. National statistics from child-protection agencies in the UK and USA show an inverse relation between rate of reports and age for all categories of maltreatment apart from sexual abuse, which is stable across the age range.3, 7 Opposite trends have been noted for self-report or parent-report studies in the UK and USA for physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, whereas the prevalence of neglect seems to remain relatively constant.20, 27, 29 Explanations for these diverging trends include increased risks of under-reporting by parents of younger children, and underdetection of maltreatment by child-protection agencies in older children.
Although self-reports or parent reports are probably closer to the true, unobserved rate of maltreatment than are official reports to agencies, they might still be underestimates. Biases in self-reports of sexual abuse have been investigated, although problems such as forgetting, denial, misunderstanding, and embarrassment also apply to other forms of maltreatment.30 All these problems are likely to lead to the under-reporting rather than over-reporting of sexual abuse of children.25, 31, 32 Test-retest studies have shown modest to moderate agreement between successive self-reports by young adults of sexual or physical abuse several years later (κ coefficient 0·4—0·6) and good agreement is shown for all types of victimisation several weeks later.25, 27, 33 One study using latent class methods estimated that reported rates of child sexual abuse were roughly half the true but non-observed rate.25
Studies measuring physical abuse in young children use parent reports of physical violence, whereas parent or adolescent self-reports can be used in older children to yield similar estimates.25, 27 Comparison between official statistics and parent-report studies within a country suggest that only a small proportion of these cases are investigated by child-protection services (panel 1). For example, a systematic review in the UK estimated that around one in 30 children who were physically abused by parents (yearly prevalence 9%) were investigated by social-welfare services responsible for child protection, and only one in 250 children who were physically abused were monitored in accordance with a child-protection plan.10
Measurement of sexual abuse relies on retrospective self-report studies of episodes that are recalled years later by adolescents or adults. Between 5% and 10% of girls and 1% to 5% of boys are exposed to penetrative sexual abuse during childhood, although figures that include any form of sexual abuse are much higher (panel 1). These estimates are supported by results of a meta-analysis of worldwide studies of variable quality and methodologies,20 but they probably give a lower limit of the true rate of sexual abuse because of under-reporting.
Few studies have examined the prevalence of psychological abuse. Results from large population-based, self-report studies in the UK and USA showed that 8—9% of women and about 4% of men reported exposure to severe psychological abuse during childhood.16, 17 Similar figures have been recorded for psychological abuse in the past year in boys and girls (10·3%).15 Higher rates have been reported in eastern Europe by similar measures (panel 1).12
Measurement of neglect in the community is difficult, partly because there are many aspects of omission or lack of provision of care that are harmful or could place a child at risk of harm.34 UK and US studies noted that between 1·4% and 10·1% of children or their mothers reported persistent absence of care or instances in which a child was hurt because of insufficient supervision (panel 1). Neglect has received little attention from self-report and parent-report studies despite being the most frequent category of child maltreatment recorded by child-protection agencies (panel 1).3, 7
Children who witness intimate-partner violence can be harmed psychologically by witnessing the experience or by being caught up in the violence. The reported prevalence of witnessing intimate-partner violence during childhood ranges from 8—10% in Swedish children aged 15—16 years, who were surveyed in 2000 and 2006, to 24% reported in a survey of 8600 adult members of a US health maintenance organisation.18, 24 The risk of other forms of child maltreatment for witnesses of intimate-partner violence is 30—60%.35, 36
Children who are exposed to one type of maltreatment are often exposed to other types on several occasions or continuously. How frequently this abuse occurs is underestimated by official reports because recording of more than one type of maltreatment is often discouraged by child-protection agencies and official reports often do not capture the chronology of exposure over time. However, retrospective self-report studies consistently show that some children are exposed to more than one type of maltreatment.3, 7, 15, 16, 37 This pattern is emphasised by detailed examination of narratives in US child-protection reports of 519 cases of maltreatment, in which high rates of multiple types of maltreatment were reported (36—91% depending on the classification used) with emotional abuse rarely occurring alone (1·2%).38 Exposure to multiple types of abuse contributes to high rates of repeated referrals to child-protection services—eg, 22% of children with substantiated maltreatment in the US were re-reported within 24 months,39 with similar rates in the UK (24% within 27 months) and in eight European countries (7—33%).40—42 Factors that consistently affect re-reporting to agencies are primarily ongoing risk factors in the child (such as disability or chronic medical disorders), in the parent (such as alcohol misuse), indices of social adversity (such as low income, contact with services), and multiple or chronic maltreatment, particularly neglect.43 Re-report can also indicate increased surveillance.27,39,42—46
Much less is known from self-report studies about patterns of maltreatment for more than one child in a family. However, an analysis of child-protection referrals in the UK showed that maltreatment was restricted to one specific child, who was more likely to be abused physically or sexually, in 44% of 310 index cases. Referrals of multiple siblings (56% of cases) were linked to neglect or psychological abuse. Parental difficulties and family stressors—such as family conflict and separation, drug or alcohol misuse, or family criminality—were associated with maltreatment of all children in the family (37%).47
Throughout childhood, maltreatment by parents or other caregivers merges with other forms of victimisation. In a nationally representative study, Finkelhor and colleagues27, 48 noted that the 22% of children aged 2—17 years who had four or more types of victimisation in the previous year—including physical, sexual, or psychological abuse; neglect; or exposure to crime, assault, witnessing intimate-partner violence; or peer or sibling victimisation—were much more likely to be victimised the following year than were those who had fewer types of victimisation, and to have the most serious victimisations and most serious psychological symptomology. Evidence from several studies suggests that children who are exposed to one type of maltreatment are at high risk of other types and of repeated exposure over time, and that the frequency of exposure is correlated with the severity of maltreatment.16, 24, 48, 49 For a few children, maltreatment is a chronic condition, not an event.
Determinants of maltreatment
Characteristics of the victim
Understanding what characteristics of parent—child relationships place children at increased risk of maltreatment within a family is complex and beyond the scope of this review. Girls have a higher risk of being sexually abused than do boys, although rates of other types of maltreatment are similar for both sexes in high-income countries.3, 7, 20, 50 In low-income countries, girls are at higher risk for infanticide, sexual abuse, and neglect, whereas boys seem to be at greater risk of harsh physical punishment.51
Disabled children are at increased risk of maltreatment, although whether their disability is a cause or consequence is uncertain.52—54 A record-linkage study in the USA showed a cumulative prevalence of any maltreatment in 9% of non-disabled children and in 31% of disabled children.52 The overall prevalence of any recorded disability was 8%, but a quarter of all maltreated children had a disability.
Characteristics of the parents and community
Identification of the separate effects of parental characteristics on the risk of child maltreatment is challenging since many factors are inextricably clustered. Poverty, mental-health problems, low educational achievement, alcohol and drug misuse, and exposure to maltreatment as a child are strongly associated with parents maltreating their children. The extent to which each of these risk factors is causally related to the occurrence of maltreatment is hard to establish. Risk factors might affect the child differently depending on the type of maltreatment and might also be linked to the adverse consequences of maltreatment. The ecological model conceptualises maltreatment as multiply determined by forces at work in the individual, in the family, and in the community and culture, and suggests that these determinants modify each other. Thus, parental risk factors can be modified by the environment and community.55 Nevertheless, some relationships can be generalised. First, income and parental education are risk factors for child maltreatment, although their importance varies with the type of maltreatment.17, 22, 43, 56, 57 Second, socioeconomic inequalities are especially steep for deaths from child abuse.58 Third, in the USA, there is controversy about the extent to which ethnic differences in allegations and substantiation of maltreatment, and in deaths from injury due to maltreatment, are explained by sociodemographic characteristics.48,59—61 However, ethnic differences in the overall risk of maltreatment are largely explained by sociodemographic characteristics, apart from for children of mixed or multiracial heritage who have an increased risk.22 Fourth, although a clear pathway exists by which parental drug and alcohol problems can cause child maltreatment in individual families, evidence for a causal link within populations is less certain. However, substance misuse is undoubtedly a common factor in incidents involving both spouse and child maltreatment.62
Last, the community environment seems to have a small to moderate effect in addition to family and individual characteristics. A UK cohort study63 reported that individual strengths distinguished resilient from non-resilient children who were exposed to physical abuse under conditions of low but not high family and neighbourhood stress, which was manifested by high crime and low social cohesion, and informal social control. Similarly, a systematic review64 reported that 10% of the variation in child health and adolescent outcomes, including maltreatment, was explained by neighbourhood socioeconomic status and social climate.
Changes over time
Evidence suggests that physical and sexual abuse are decreasing in some settings. In the USA, substantiated reports of sexual and physical abuse have fallen by around 50% from the mid-1990s to 2005 (webfigure 1),27, 50, 65 with a similar trend in England (webfigure 2).7 These decreases are probably accurate estimates since they are present across both types of abuse with no preponderance of equivocal cases. No analysis of trends in Europe has been done, despite clear evidence, at least in Sweden, of a reduction in acceptance and occurrence of parental violence towards children since the 1960s (figure).18 Further research is needed to confirm these trends that emphasise the predominance and continuing problem of neglect and the rise in recognition of psychological abuse, which is often associated with other forms of family violence (webfigures 1 and 2).
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Figure Full-size image (33K)
Time trends in parental violence towards children in Sweden
Parental attitudes are based on nationally representative interview surveys (1965, 1968, 1971, 1980) and questionnaire surveys (1994, 2000, 2006). Child attitudes are based on questionnaire surveys of schoolchildren aged 13 and 16 years in 1994, 2000, and 2006. Responses are to the question “Is it right to punish your child physically (including a box on the ear) if they have made you angry” (for children “Is it OK for your parents to hit you if you have made them angry?”). Parental violence is based on parent-reported physical punishment in the past year and child reports on parental violence in preschool years.18
Differences between countries
Comparisons of the prevalence or incidence of maltreatment between different countries need parent-report or self-report studies using similar survey methods. Few such studies have been published. 30 years ago, Gelles and Edfeldt66 reported a 5% higher prevalence of physical abuse in the past year in the USA than in Sweden when the same instrument was used. A meta-regression of self-report studies20 indicates higher rates of sexual abuse in the USA than in Europe (22% vs 15%), although differences might be partly due to less sensitive survey methods in the European studies. The agency reports for different countries in panel 1 are difficult to compare since they reflect different systems and thresholds.
Child maltreatment is a particular concern in the newly independent eastern and central European states, where the economic transition in the past 15 years has been associated with substantial rises in premature adult mortality (panel 1).67, 68 Although data are scarce, a questionnaire survey of children aged 10—14 years (n=1145) in Macedonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Moldova recorded the lowest yearly prevalence rates of severe and moderate psychological abuse and physical abuse in Macedonia (18% and 12%, respectively) and the highest in Moldova (43% and 29%, respectively).12 Abuse was higher in rural areas than in urban areas, and was associated with parental overuse of alcohol.12 Other studies report similar rates of child sexual abuse to those in western Europe.13, 69 As in western Europe, by far the greatest problem is neglect. The WHO national prevalence study of child maltreatment in Romanian families showed that physical neglect was reported by 46% of adolescents surveyed, emotional neglect by 44%, and educational neglect by 34%.13 These rates are much higher than are those in western Europe.41 A WHO study in Samara, Russia, reported that the identification of neglect by health and social services is seven times more common than is identification of physical abuse.70 In two-thirds of all cases of maltreatment, the parents were recorded as alcoholic. The usual response to such cases in 2002 was to place the child into residential or foster care. However, the chances of physical and sexual abuse in residential care are even higher than in family-based care (panel 2).
Panel 2
Prevalence of abuse in residential care institutions
About 1·3 million children (aged 0—17 years) are in social-care facilities within 20 countries in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.71 Physical and sexual abuse by caregivers and peers in these institutions seems to be common.72 In 2000, an anonymous questionnaire study of 3164 children in residential care aged 7—18 years (8% of all children in residential care in Romania) showed that 38% reported severe physical punishment or beatings, usually by residential care staff (in 77% of cases).73 A fifth of respondents (roughly half were boys) claimed to have been blackmailed or coerced into sexual activity, and a further 4% claimed that they were constrained to have sex. The reported perpetrators of these acts of sexual abuse were older residents of the same sex (50%), older residents of the opposite sex (12%), institutional staff (1·3%) offending inside the institution, as well as relatives (4%), other young people (3%), and adults (1%) offending outside the institution. 29% of respondents would not identify their perpetrator. Public scandals involving the sexual exploitation of children in residential care by their carers occur worldwide, with recent examples in Belgium, Portugal, UK, and Ireland.51 However, the consistency of the problem across residential care homes in Romania suggests endemic abuse, which, given that 1·9% of children are in residential care at any one time in that country, represents a major public-health problem.73
Death from child maltreatment
The most tragic manifestation of the burden of child maltreatment is the thousands of child deaths every year due to deliberate killing (homicide) or neglect (manslaughter). WHO estimated that 155 000 deaths in children younger than 15 years occur worldwide every year as a result of abuse or neglect, which is 0·6% of all deaths and 12·7% of deaths due to any injury.51 Only a third of these deaths are classified as homicide. Furthermore, substantial under-reporting occurs because of insufficient routine investigations and post-mortem examinations of child deaths in most countries.74 The biological parents are responsible for four-fifths of cases, and step-parents are to blame for most of the remaining cases (15% of the total).74
Child homicide occurs most frequently during infancy—in the UK, 35% of child homicide victims (<16 years) are younger than 1 year.74, 75 In infancy, homicide is equally likely to be perpetrated by the mother and the father; however, for older children, the perpetrator is usually a man.75 Large differences in infant homicide rates exist between high-income countries, with the highest rates recorded in the USA and lowest in Scandinavia and southern Europe.76 An analysis of infant homicide rates between 1945 and 1998 in 39 countries confirmed previously reported associations between infant homicide and higher rates of female participation in the workforce and income inequalities.77
According to WHO estimates, rates of death in children younger than 15 years due to homicide or manslaughter in central and eastern Europe and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union are consistently higher than in the western European countries of the EU (webfigure 3). The peak incidence from 1993 to 2003 coincided with the period of economic and political transition when community services were severely disrupted.68 Despite improvement over the past 30 years in child protection in western European countries and the USA, there has been very little decrease in the rate of child homicides.78, 79
Long-term consequences of child maltreatment
Since groundbreaking work in the early 1970s drew attention to the battered child syndrome, research designed to quantify the long-term consequences of child maltreatment has grown.80 Here we summarise the evidence for associations between different types of maltreatment and outcomes related to education, mental health, physical health, and violence or criminal behaviour. Findings from cohort studies that prospectively ascertained whether children were maltreated or not, and which followed up these children over time to identify later outcomes, are contrasted with more diverse work of cohort and cross-sectional studies that measure maltreatment retrospectively, usually on the basis of self-reporting in adolescence or adulthood. Since we are interested in the consequences of child maltreatment, we want to assess causality. Thus, the strengths of prospective studies include the temporal ordering of maltreatment and subsequent outcomes, objective measurement of maltreatment, avoidance of recall bias, minimisation of selective inclusion of participants on the basis of the outcome, and the opportunity to adjust for social and individual confounding factors as they occur.
All these factors are weaknesses of studies using retrospective measurement of maltreatment, especially since the temporal ordering of maltreatment and outcomes cannot be reliably established. Recall bias is also a concern, with ambiguity about whether consequences are due to the actual abuse experience, aftermath of the abuse experience, or a person's cognitive appraisal of the experience. However, studies that use only official cases of child maltreatment might detect only the few maltreated children who come to professional attention, who might differ in some ways from other maltreated children and whose outcomes could also be different. The problem of representativeness, which can distort the prevalence and effect size, is reduced for population-based longitudinal cohort studies. The validity of various methods of assessing and studying maltreatment is a source of ongoing debate.81, 82 Our analysis endeavours to draw on the strengths of prospective and retrospective studies and, when available, on findings from systematic reviews (table 2).
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Table 2Table imageOpens in a new browser window
Summary of review findings on consequences of child maltreatment—evidence for an association in prospective and retrospective studies
Education and employment
Child maltreatment is associated with long-term deficits in educational achievement. Prospective longitudinal studies have consistently shown that maltreated children have lower educational achievement than do their peers, and are more likely to receive special education83—86 (Jonson-Reid and colleagues83 found that 24% of maltreated children received special education at a mean age of 8 years, compared with 14% of children with no maltreatment record). The differences are substantial—eg, only 42% of the maltreated children completed high school compared with two-thirds of community-matched controls.85 Another prospective study showed that decreases in school attendance and school performance were related to the timing of maltreatment, and were cumulative.87 Most of these associations persisted after adjustment for family and social characteristics (eg, ethnic origin, age, sex, and socioeconomic status), as seen in some but not all studies. A longitudinal population-based cohort study in New Zealand,86 with retrospective ascertainment of child maltreatment, confirmed these reduced levels of educational achievement in adults who had been physically or sexually abused (eg, 6—10% of abused children attained a university degree compared with 28% of those not abused) but such differences were largely explained by social, parental, and individual characteristics. Exposure of children to intimate-partner violence also seems to be linked to low educational achievement, but the extent to which this factor is independent of other forms of child maltreatment is unclear.88
Although the risk of underachievement in education is clearly high in children who are maltreated, evidence for a causal link is mixed. Studies are needed from outside the USA to help quantify the extent of this burden in different educational settings.
Maltreatment has longlasting economic consequences for affected individuals.89 In a prospective study of court documented cases of childhood maltreatment and community-matched controls, significantly more of the abused and neglected individuals were in menial and semi-skilled occupations than were controls (62% vs 45%) at 29 years of age, and fewer had remained in employment during the past 5 years (41% vs 58%). Further research is needed to examine the effect of child maltreatment on economic productivity throughout life and in different settings.
Mental-health outcomes
Child maltreatment increases the risk of behaviour problems, including internalising (anxiety, depression) and externalising (aggression, acting out) behaviour.84,90—95
Children who witness intimate-partner violence are at increased risk of behaviour problems, but whether this factor is independent of other forms of maltreatment is contentious.88, 96, 97 Behaviour problems in childhood seem to be strongly determined by early timing of maltreatment, although whether early physical or psychological abuse, or neglect, is most damaging at this age is unclear.90, 98 Behaviour problems that arise later in adolescence might be related most strongly to maltreatment during adolescence.91 Consistent evidence suggests a cumulative effect of different types of maltreatment on later behaviour problems,91, 99 with one group concluding “there is no point beyond which services for children are hopeless…every risk factor we can reduce matters”.99
Maltreated children have a moderately increased risk of depression in adolescence and adulthood (adjusted odds ratios ranging from 1·3 to 2·4), which only partly reflects the family context in which maltreatment occurs.84,91,92,95,100—103 Because depression is common and serious—around a quarter to a third of maltreated children meet criteria for major depression by their late 20s (with use of criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM])92, 102, 104—this association represents a substantial burden. For many affected individuals, the onset of depression begins in childhood, reinforcing the need for early intervention in the lives of these abused and neglected children, before symptoms of depression cascade into other spheres of functioning.91, 102 Depression is associated with neglect and physical and sexual abuse, with no clear evidence for a specific effect of any particular type of maltreatment. Some investigators have shown a dose response, with depression more likely with harsh or severe physical abuse than with less severe forms of maltreatment.20, 92
Evidence suggests that child maltreatment increases the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, which, by definition, develops after a terrifying event or ordeal. Symptoms include recurrent intrusion of frightening thoughts and memories, sleep difficulties, and detached or numb feelings, which can substantially affect a person's ability to function. Prospective and retrospective studies consistently show associations between physical or sexual abuse or neglect and post-traumatic stress disorder in adolescents and adults, which persist after controlling for family and child characteristics that are correlated with maltreatment.20,84,95,105—108 These effects can be longlasting. One prospective study105 of children who were maltreated before 12 years of age and assessed at 29 years reported that 23% of people who were sexually abused, 19% of those physically abused, and 17% of those neglected, had a present diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (with use of DSM-III criteria) compared with 10% of controls, and lifetime risks of this disorder were much higher in cases than in controls. However, family, individual, and lifestyle variables, such as having a parent who is an alcoholic or has been arrested, also increased the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder. A meta-analysis20 of studies of children who have been sexually abused suggests a dose-response effect, with higher risks associated with penetrative sexual abuse than with contact or non-contact abuse.
Evidence for an association between childhood maltreatment and adult psychosis is inconclusive.109—111 No clear link between personality disorder and maltreatment has been noted,89 although one prospective study101 showed an increased risk of personality disorder in maltreated children including those exposed to verbal abuse, which was independent of physical or sexual abuse or neglect. These findings emphasise the need for further research into the effects of psychological abuse.
Consistent evidence suggests that both physical abuse and sexual abuse are associated with a doubling of the risk of attempted suicide for young people who are followed up into their late 20s. For physical and sexual abuse, these effects persist after adjustment for confounding family and individual variables,89, 92 but for neglect, these effects are mainly explained by family context.100 According to cross-sectional studies, the risk of attempted suicide increases with the accumulation of multiple adversities, including repeated maltreatment and witnessing intimate-partner violence.112, 113 The risk of attempted suicide can be very high in young people. Widom and colleagues89 reported lifetime rates of 19% in 29-year-old adults who were abused or neglected as children compared with 8% of community-matched controls, whereas a population-based cohort in New Zealand reported suicide attempts by 11—21% of young adults or adolescents who were exposed to severe physical abuse or penetrative sexual abuse compared with 1—3% of controls.92 Similar rates have been reported in a systematic review of ten studies114 and one prospective study in New York, which showed that 6% of adolescents who were abused made multiple suicide attempts.100
The hypothesis that children who have been sexually abused use self-injurious behaviour (such as cutting) as a maladaptive coping mechanism is only weakly supported by a systematic review of 45 retrospective studies.115 By contrast, a prospective study reported a strong association with sexual abuse but no association with physical abuse or neglect.116
Converging evidence from prospective and retrospective studies suggests that child maltreatment increases the risk of alcohol problems in adolescence and adulthood. These effects are moderate and persist in some but not all studies after adjustment for family characteristics and parental alcohol use.20,22,91,92,102,117—119 On the basis of results from a prospective study with follow up at 29 and 39 years of age,102, 117 and from a systematic review of 224 studies,119 the association with alcohol problems, at least in adulthood, is confined to girls. These findings emphasise the need for interventions for girls and young women to prevent the development of alcohol problems and the associated health, safety, and social problems that excessive drinking in women can cause. For example, problem drinking in women increases the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome and might affect their ability to look after a child.120
The link between child maltreatment and drug dependency is not straightforward.22, 84, 91, 92, 121 One prospective study122 reported that individuals who were maltreated in childhood were no more likely to have a diagnosis of drug dependency by the age of 29 years than were community controls. However, when a different measure of drug use is used, individuals who were abused and neglected were at increased risk for present illicit drug use at roughly 40 years of age.121 Investigators of this study speculated that although individuals who had experienced neglect or abuse would mature out of drug use, abused and neglected individuals might continue in a problematic drug-use trajectory. Cross-sectional studies indicate that exposure to multiple forms of abuse and other childhood adversities, including witnessing intimate-partner violence, leads to a cumulative increase in the risk of self-reported alcohol or drug misuse in adulthood.123, 124
Overall, the burden of mental ill health resulting from child maltreatment is substantial. A New Zealand cohort study92 estimated that physical abuse accounted for 5% of mental disorders and sexual abuse for 13%, after taking account of the family context in which maltreatment occurs.
How exposure to maltreatment of different types, at different developmental stages, leads to adverse mental-health outcomes is complex, although early and cumulative maltreatment seem to be particularly harmful to the development of the brain.125, 126 The webappendix summarises the evidence for biological mechanisms that link child maltreatment and later outcomes.
Physical-health outcomes
Four very different prospective longitudinal studies127—130 have reported strong associations between physical abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse and obesity, which persist after accounting for family characteristics and individual risk factors, such as childhood obesity. Large differences in the magnitude of this association between studies (adjusted odds ratios range from 1·3 to 9·8)129, 130 probably indicate differences in exposure and outcome measures and analyses. Retrospective studies also suggest an association between child sexual abuse and eating disorders (eg, bulimia and anorexia), but there is less information about other forms of maltreatment.131 Several large cross-sectional studies have reported relations between multiple child adversities, including child maltreatment, and a range of health outcomes in adulthood (eg, ischaemic heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, skeletal fractures, and liver disease), albeit with little adjustment for lifetime confounders.132, 133
Abnormally overt or intrusive sexualised behaviour is a common problem in preteen children who are exposed to sexual abuse.134 However, sexualised behaviour is not specific to child sexual abuse and has been associated with physical abuse, characteristics of family adversity, coercive parenting, child behaviour, and modelling of sexual behaviour.135
Most studies that have examined the relation between child maltreatment and sexual behaviour in adolescence and adulthood have focused on outcomes for sexual abuse. An exception is a prospective study with follow-up at 29 years of age, which reported a significant association between physical or sexual abuse or neglect and arrest for prostitution or being paid for sex (13% of cases vs 4% of controls for girls, p=0·001; 15% vs 8% for boys, p=0·17), but no significant associations with promiscuity or teenage pregnancy.136 In two prospective studies,91, 137 child maltreatment was associated with teenage pregnancy. In one study,136 HIV was twice as common in abused and neglected individuals as in controls, although the difference did not reach conventional levels of significance most likely because of weak statistical power.136 A systematic review and meta-analysis of various types of study, most with retrospective ascertainment of abuse status, similarly reported the strongest associations between child sexual abuse and sex trading in adolescence or adulthood, and showed greater effects for women than for men.112,138—140 Small to moderate effects of child sexual abuse on increased rates of teenage pregnancy have been noted, as well as earlier onset of sexual activity, greater numbers of sexual partners, increased rates of abortion, and increased risks of sexually transmitted disease.4,138,140—145 These effects are stronger with more severe146, 147 or repeated145 sexual abuse or exposure to multiple childhood adversities.148, 149 Emerging evidence also suggests that exposure to child sexual abuse might be related to later sexual orientation.150 Overall, these findings suggest associations between exposure to child sexual abuse and subsequent sexual adjustment.
Controversy about a possible link between childhood maltreatment and chronic pain in adulthood emphasises the differences between prospective and retrospective measures of child maltreatment and the advantages of considering both types of study design. A prospective study based on children with maltreatment documented by courts and community-matched controls showed no association with chronic pain reported in adulthood at 29 years of age.151 However, when groups were compared on the basis of retrospective self-reports of child maltreatment, the association with chronic pain was significant (p<0·0001).152 Similar evidence of a modest association between child sexual or physical abuse (but not neglect), and pain in adulthood has been reported.151,153—156
These findings draw attention to the distinction between how people remember and interpret abusive childhood experiences and exposure to child abuse. They establish an association between memories of childhood abuse and chronic pain in adulthood and further suggest that abused individuals with chronic pain are more likely to seek health care than are non-abused individuals with chronic pain.151 However, we cannot conclude that child abuse or neglect causes chronic pain in adulthood.
Despite the evidence for diverse and serious consequences of child maltreatment, a systematic review157 found no studies measuring quality of life during childhood after maltreatment, and only four studies in adults. Further research, based on modification of existing methods and development of measures that can be used for younger children, is needed for economic assessments of the burden of child maltreatment and cost-effectiveness of intervention strategies. Studies in North America158, 159 and Australia160 have shown increased service use and costs associated with child maltreatment, but research is lacking elsewhere in the world and in other public sectors.
Aggression, crime, and violence
In addition to feeling considerable pain and suffering themselves, abused and neglected children are at increased risk of becoming aggressive and inflicting pain and suffering on others, often perpetrating crime and violence. One paper on the cycle of violence161 reported that being physically abused or neglected as a child increased the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile (31% arrested vs 19% of community-matched controls) and as an adult (48% vs 36%). Since that time, similar effects on criminal behaviour have been reported in the USA despite differences in geographical region, time period, age of adolescent, definition of maltreatment, and assessment technique.95,137,162—167 These findings are supported by systematic reviews of retrospective studies, showing that physical and sexual abuse predict delinquency or violence in boys and girls,168 although physical abuse might be most strongly related to youth violence in girls.169 A direct comparison of different types of maltreatment found that children who were physically or sexually abused were more likely to carry a weapon in adolescence than were neglected children, because of a perceived need for self protection.170 Evidence that risks of youth violence cumulate when child abuse persists into adolescence suggests a need for interventions to prevent ongoing abuse.169
Future research
Child maltreatment is common, and for many it is a chronic condition, with repeated and ongoing maltreatment merging into adverse outcomes throughout childhood and into adulthood. The burden on the children themselves and on society is substantial. At the same time, variation in rates of maltreatment between countries, particularly for infant homicides, and a possible decrease in recent years in sexual and physical abuse in some high-income countries, shows that the present high burden of child maltreatment is not inevitable. International comparative studies are needed, especially in countries outside North America and northern Europe, to help learn lessons from different settings about how to prevent child maltreatment and its consequences. The high burden and serious and longlasting consequences of child maltreatment warrant increased investment in preventive and therapeutic strategies from early childhood. Research into what works at an individual and policy level is a priority.171, 172
More research is needed into characteristics of responses by communities, families, and services that help with healthy development rather than exacerbate the child's problems. This research includes improved understanding of the many ways in which children are victimised at different stages of development.27
More attention needs to be given to neglected children. There is mounting evidence that the consequences of childhood neglect can be as damaging—or perhaps even more damaging—to a child than physical or sexual abuse. More attention also needs to be paid to the potentially different needs of boys and girls who are maltreated. Although classrooms and neighbourhoods are disrupted more by deviant behaviour of boys than of girls, research shows that maltreatment doubles a girl's risk of being arrested for a violent crime and increases risk for subsequent alcohol and drug problems, with implications for her children.
Search strategy and selection criteria
We did a comprehensive search of PubMed, Psychinfo, and Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) for any systematic reviews or overviews related to child maltreatment published after 2000 (to June, 2008) and then scrutinised reference lists of relevant studies. We also searched PubMed, ERIC, and Psychinfo using additional synonyms and indexing terms specific to each outcome. Searches on PubMed were enhanced with the related articles facility for selected studies. Recent psychological abstracts, child abuse and neglect abstracts, and criminal justice abstracts were also searched. We searched websites posted by governments or major advocacy bodies on child maltreatment for reports on incidence and prevalence rates.
Conflict of interest statement
We declare that we have no conflict of interest.
We thank the following people who helped provide data, references, or undertook searches for the review: Maria Keller-Hamela, Nobody's Children Foundation, Warsaw, Poland; Dinesh Seth, WHO Rome Office, Violence programme; Helen Wadsworth Wilson, City University of New York; and Melissa Harden, UCL-Institute of Child Health, London. We thank Toni Pitcher, Christchurch Health and Development Study, University Otago, New Zealand, for contributing to the web panel on biological mechanisms; and the editorial group for the Series: Rosalyn Proops, Richard Reading, Harriet MacMillan, Danya Glaser, and Pat Hamilton, for commenting on drafts of the review.
WebExtra Content
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Biological factors linking child maltreatment and mental-health outcomes
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Child maltreatment between 1990 and 2005 in the USA reported to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System
Source: US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children Youth and Families. Child Maltreatment 2006. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 2008.
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Number of child-protection registrations in England according to primary type of maltreatment and overall rate of registration per 10 000 child population (younger than 18 years)
Source: Department for Children, Schools and Families. Referrals, assessments and children and young people who are the subject of a child protection plan or are on child protection registers: year ending March 31, 2007. London: Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2008.
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Age-standardised rates of child death (0—14 years) due to homicide or manslaughter per 100 000 population in the WHO European Region
Source: WHO Regional Office for Europe. Health for All database (HFA-DB). Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2008. http://www.euro.who.int/hfadb (accessed Oct 14, 2008).
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a Centre for Evidence-Based Child Health and MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UK
b Psychology Department, John Jay College, City University of New York, NY, USA
c Institute of Work, Health and Organisations, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
d WHO Collaborating Centre on Child Care and Protection, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
e Christchurch Health and Development Study, Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Christchurch, New Zealand
f Department of Child Health, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
g Department of Public Health, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
Corresponding Author Information Correspondence to: Prof Ruth Gilbert, Centre for Evidence-based Child Health and MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health, UCL Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1 1EH, UK