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Statistical analysis and verification of forensic age estimation of living persons in the Institute of Legal Medicine of the Berlin University Hospital Charité.

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      Abstract

      In recent years, the increase in international migration movements has led to a greater demand for forensic age estimation of foreigners without valid identification documents in numerous countries. The growing importance of forensic age determination is underlined by a rapid rise in the number of expert reports by the Institute of Legal Medicine of the Berlin University Hospital Charité. A total of 247 expert opinions on estimated age were given between 1992 and 31 December 2000. Subject to formal court ruling, age is estimated based on the physical inspection, in combination with an X-ray of the left hand and the clavicles as well as dental assessment. However, the statistical proof of the range of scatter for the summarized age diagnosis still remains to be clarified in the context of this assessment procedure. The age estimations made by the Institute of Legal Medicine of the Berlin University Hospital Charité were statistically analyzed with respect to the validity of the different methods. For verification of the age diagnoses, the age estimates were compared with the court records and the age determined in the course of legal proceedings. In 45 cases, the age diagnoses could be verified. In all cases where the age could be verified beyond doubt, deviations from the actual age did not exceed +/-12 months. From this, it can be concluded that the combined application of the above-mentioned methods allows forensic age estimations with a sufficiently high degree of reliability.

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      Author and article information

      Affiliations
      [1 ] Institute of Legal Medicine (Charité), Humboldt University Berlin, Hannoversche Strasse 6, D-10115 Berlin, Germany. andreas.schmeling@charite.de
      Journal
      Leg Med (Tokyo)
      Legal medicine (Tokyo, Japan)
      1344-6223
      1344-6223
      Mar 2003
      : 5 Suppl 1
      12935635 S1344622302001347

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