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Defense Wounds vs Self Inflicted Wounds

Defense Wounds

Defense injuries are the injuries suffered on the parts of the body to ward off an attack.

Any art of the body may be injured depending on the method of defense.

Common Sites
  • Grasping surfaces of hands
  • Ulnar border of forearm
  • Dorsum of hand (if used to cover and protect head and face)
  • Lower limbs in sexual assaults in female

Self Inflicted Wounds (Fabricated, fictitious or forged injuries)

Injuries inflicted by oneself or by some other in agreement with him/her.

  1. To support a false charge against somebody
  2. To avoid some duty such as in military
  3. To avert suspicion by concealing some injury or to show that he acted in defense and thus injured or killed another, or could not prevent robbery, dacoity, etc.
  4. To convert simple injury to grave one
Characteristics of Fabricated Injuries

1.        Injury Types

Generally they are cuts, occasionally stab wounds and rarely firearm injuries

2.       Nature of injuries

Seen on parts readily accessible to the individual. The injuries are usually superficial, multiple and not  situated on vital parts of the body.

3.       Clothing

A person rarely injures himself through his clothing and even if the clothes are damages, they are not compatible with the number, length or direction of the wound.

4.       Defense Wounds

Defense wounds are absent

5.       History

Explanation of injuries with reference to the identity of weapon including the number of blows, strokes, the way he tried to defend himself, will be found inconsistent with the observed facts.

6.       Opinion of Doctor

Only when the doctor is reasonably sure that the injuries are self inflicted, he should give his opinion of self infliction.

Otherwise, advantage of doubt must always go in favor of the injured person and left over for the investigators to solve.

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