U.S. Shaken-Baby Syndrome Database

In December 2013, The Medill Justice Project released its national database on shaken-baby syndrome cases to the public for the first time.

Working with undergraduate and graduate journalism students at Northwestern University, The Medill Justice Project identified and confirmed more than 3,000 cases of shaken-baby syndrome in the United States, using more than 30 sources, including press accounts, public record searches, databases such as LexisNexis and court documents. That number of accusations is primarily comprised of criminal charges but also includes some instances where individuals were accused but not charged, or charges were dropped.

With the help of a team of engineering graduate students at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, the database shows the gender of those accused and the county and state where each case occurred. The Medill Justice Project plans to update the database as more categories of data are verified. The database excludes individual defendant names in line with the recommendation of several national criminal justice experts. That’s because, for instance, recent caregivers’ cases have shown that some people are innocent of these violent crimes. The goal is to identify national patterns and trends.

The Medill Justice Project hopes the public will use this database to better understand this largely opaque issue, which affects families throughout the nation. The information may be used for independent research and reporting as long as The Medill Justice Project’s database is credited.

If you have information about a shaken-baby syndrome case or cases and would like to add it to The Medill Justice Project’s national database, please contact us at medilljusticeproject@northwestern.edu, or 847-491-5840. Please also contact us in cases where those accused of such crimes wish to have their attorneys’ names and contact information published as part of The Medill Justice Project database.

To access the database, click The Medill Justice Project’s Shaken-Baby Syndrome Database.

To read stories The Medill Justice Project wrote based on the shaken-baby syndrome database research, click the following links:

Medill Innocence Project Examines Shaken-Baby Syndrome Cases Nationwide: Long-Range Research to Be First U.S. Published Database

Methodology: How The Medill Justice Project is Creating a U.S. Database on Shaken-Baby Syndrome

The Gender Gap: Study Shows Men Far More Likely Than Women to Be Accused of Violently Shaking Infants

Hot Spots: Study Identifies Where Higher Rates of Shaken-Baby Syndrome Cases Are Occurring in the United States


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