Added: February 6, 2016 – Last updated: February 6, 2016


Authors: Sofie Skovmand and Birgitte Schmidt Astrup

Title: Trends in child sexual abuse cases referred for forensic examination in Southern Denmark from 2000 to 2011

Subtitle: Did the ‘Tønder-case’ have an impact?

Journal: Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine

Volume: 36

Issue: -

Year: November 2015 (Received: April 20, 2015, Received in revised form: August 26, 2015, Accepted: Spetember 15, 2015, Published online: September 25, 2015)

Pages: 121-125

ISSN: 1752-928X – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1878-7487 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 21st Century | European History: Danish History | Types: Child Sexual Abuse


Link: ScienceDirect (Restricted Access)


Authors: Birgitte Schmidt Astrup, Retsmedicinsk Institut (Institute of Forensic Medicine), Syddansk Universitet (University of Southern Denmark) – ResearchGate


»In 2005 a serious case of child sexual abuse from the region of Southern Denmark was revealed to the Danish public. The case became known as the ‘Tønder-case’. It was the first in a series of 4-5 serious cases of child maltreatment in Denmark, cases which spurred heavy public debate.
In this study all the cases of child sexual abuse referred for forensic examination in a 12 year period, a total of 368 cases, were systematically evaluated. In order to identify any trends that could be correlated to an impact of the ‘Tønder-case’, cases from 2000-2002 and cases from 2009-2011 underwent an in-depth analysis.
In the 12 year period there was a significant increase in numbers of cases. In the subgroups, comprised of 113 cases meeting the inclusion criteria, we found a significant increase in the frequency of cases involving incest and systematic abuse, as well as an uncorrelated increase in the frequency of cases where children were placed in foster care prior to the examination. These results were countered by a significant decrease in the number cases police reported child sexual abuse in the same period.
The possible impact that cases like the ‘Tønder-case’ and the following press coverage may have on disclosure and the handling of this type of case by authorities is discussed, as well as further perspectives of extensive press coverage.« (Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine)


  1. Introduction (p. 121)
  2. Background (p. 121)
  3. Material and methods (p. 122)
  4. Results (p. 122)
    4.1. Case characteristics (p. 122)
    4.2. The forensic investigation (p. 123)
  5. Discussion (p. 123)
    5.1. The prevalence of sexual abuse in children (p. 124)
    5.2. Case characteristics (p. 124)
      5.2.1. Foster care placements (p. 124)
      5.2.2. Findings at the forensic examination (p. 124)
    5.3. The impact of altered guidelines, restructuring of the police force and the 'Tønder-case' on case characteristics (p. 124)
    5.4. Study limitations (p. 124)
  6. Conclusion (p. 125)
  References (p. 125)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of Denmark | Types of rape: Child sexual abuse