Introduction: Various guidelines for age estimation based on scientific evidence have been developed by expert groups and bodies internationally. In Uganda, the guidelines and methods being used to estimate the age of juveniles undergoing judicial proceedings are not known. Aim: This study explored the practices and perceptions of the health professionals working with the police towards age estimation for juveniles undergoing criminal proceedings in Uganda. Methods: It was a qualitative study using key informant interviews. Seventeen health professionals working in private clinics and general government hospitals linked to the police were purposively selected. Data were collected using a key informant interview, which allowed the participants to express their views and perceptions concerning the different aspects of the age estimation process. The information gathered focused on the methods used to estimate age and their appropriateness, particularly based on the third molar eruption. The data were analysed using thematic content analysis methodology. Results: It was found that the current practice of age estimation in the country does not fully adapt to international standards and that there are variations among the users. Conclusion: The standardisation of age estimation methods is urgently needed in the country through the use of a multidisciplinary approach and an emphasis on combining methods in order to increase accuracy.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
- Menjivar C and Perreira KM. Undocumented and unaccompanied: Children of migration in the European Union and the United States. Taylor and Francis. 2019.
- United Nations Children’s Fund. Progress for Children: Achieving the MDGs with equity No. 9, 2010. Available from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Progress_ for_Children-o.9_EN_081710.pdf
- Schmeling A, Garamendi PM, Prieto JL and Landa MI. Forensic age estimation in unaccompanied minors and young living adults. Forensic Medicine-From Old Problems to New Challenges: IntechOpen. 2011. https:// doi.org/10.5772/19261
- The Penal Code Act. 1950. Available from: https://ulii.org/ug/legislation/consolidated-act/120
- ABFO. Supplemental Age Assessment Charts. Available from: https://abfo.org/age-estimation-guidelines
- International Organization for Forensic Odonto- Stomatology I. Available from: http://www.odont.uio.no/ foreninger/iofos/quality/Age-IOFOS.htm
- Schmeling A, Grundmann C, Fuhrmann A, Kaatsch HJ, Knell B, Ramsthaler F, et al. Criteria for age estimation in living individuals. International Journal of Legal Medicine. 2008; 122(6):457-60. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-008-0254-2 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-008-0254-2
- Forensic Anthropology Society of Europe F. [Accessed 13th June, 2020]. Available from: http://forensicanthropology.eu/about-fase/
- Schmeling A, Dettmeyer R, Rudolf E, Vieth V and Geserick G. Forensic Age Estimation: methods, certainty, and the law. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2016; 113(4):44-50. https://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2016.0044 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2016.0044
- Nuzzolese E and Di Vella G. Forensic dental investigations and age assessment of asylum seekers. International Dental Journal. 2008; 58(3):122-6. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1875-595X.2008.tb00186.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1875-595X.2008.tb00186.x
- Uganda Police report Uganda Police. Annual crime report 2017. Available from: https://www.upf.go.ug/wp-content/ uploads/2018/07/ANNUAL-CRIME-REPORT-2017.pdf
- Guba EG. Criteria for assessing the trustworthiness of naturalistic inquiries. Ectj. 1981; 29(2):75. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02766777 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02766777
- European Asylum Support Office E. Practical Guide on age assessment, Second edition. 2018. Available from: https://www.easo.europa.eu/sites/default/files/easo-practicalguide-on-age-assesment-v3-2018.pdf
- Antonio ME. Stress and the capital jury: How male and female jurors react to serving on a murder trial. Justice System Journal. 2008; 29(3):396-407.
- Migration and migrant population statistics. [Accessed on 17th June 2019]. Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Migration_and_migrant_population_statistics#Migration_ flows:_Immigration_to_the_EU_from_non-member_ countries_was_2.4_million_in_2017
- Antonopoulos GA, Tierney J and Webster C. Police perception of migration and migrants in Greece. Eur J Crime Crim L & Crim Just. 2008; 16:353. https://doi. org/10.1163/157181708X373216 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/157181708X373216
- Chumlea WC, Schubert CM, Roche AF, Kulin HE, Lee PA, Himes JH, et al. Age at menarche and racial comparisons in US girls. Pediatrics. 2003; 111(1):110-3. https://doi. org/10.1542/peds.111.1.110 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.111.1.110
- Milani S and Benso L. Why we can’t determine reliably the age of a subject on the basis of his maturation degree. Journal of forensic and legal medicine. 2019; 61:97-101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jflm.2018.12.002 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jflm.2018.12.002
- Age assessment. Council of Europe member states’ policies, procedures and practices respectful of children’s rights in the context of migration, [Accessed on 24th July 2019.]. Available from: https://rm.coe.int/ age-assessment-council-of-europe-member-statespolicies-procedures-and/168074b723
- Schmeling A, Garamendi PM, Prieto JL and Landa MI. Forensic age estimation in unaccompanied minors and young living adults. In: Duarte NV, editor. Forensic Medicine-From Old Problems to New Challenges. Rijeka: InTech. 2011; 77-120. https://doi.org/10.5772/19261 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5772/19261
- Solheim T and Vonen A. Dental age estimation, quality assurance and age estimation of asylum seekers in Norway. Forensic Science International. 2006; 159:S56-S60. https:// doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2006.02.016 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2006.02.016
- Hassanali J. The third permanent molar eruption in Kenyan Africans and Asians. Annals of human biology. 1985; 12(6):517-23. https://doi.org/10.1080/03014468500008091 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03014468500008091
- Tuteja M, Bahirwani S and Balaji P. An evaluation of third molar eruption for assessment of chronologic age: A panoramic study. Journal of forensic dental sciences. 2012; 4(1):13-8. https://doi.org/10.4103/0975-1475.99154 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4103/0975-1475.99154
- Almonaitiene R, Balciuniene I and Tutkuviene J. Factors influencing permanent teeth eruption. Part one - general factors. Stomatologija. 2010; 12(3):67-72.
- Hägg U and Taranger J. Dental development dental age and tooth counts. The Angle Orthodontist. 1985; 55(2):93-107.