Child Abuse (cont.)

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How is alleged child abuse evaluated?

A thorough nonjudgmental history of the immediate events as well as a review of past similar experiences are often independently done by a physician, social worker, and/or the police department. The child may be interviewed separately from the parents as part of this information-gathering process.

A complete physical exam of the child (which may include the taking of photographs to document physical/sexual abuse) is often followed by radiologic studies (X-rays, CT, and MRI scans) and/or laboratory tests to support the potential diagnosis of inflicted trauma and to rule out the possibility of medical conditions which could account for the physical findings noted during the examination. A complete eye examination is indicated in all infants to evaluate to possibility of retinal hemorrhages associated with the shaken baby syndrome.

How is child abuse treated?

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Steps that are often taken to correct child abuse are as follows:

  • The safety of the abused child and any other potential victim of abuse in the household is paramount. Removal of the victim and placement in protective custody in a group home or foster care is often necessary.
  • Effective counseling for the child, family, and the abuser is essential to deal with the associated emotional and psychological stress and trauma.
  • In the event of neglect, establishing realistic expectations of the child's needs and capabilities is required.
  • Parental high-risk behaviors such as substance/alcohol abuse must be addressed.
  • Law-enforcement evaluation is performed, followed by the filing of charges, court appearance, and (if found guilty) sentencing as indicated.
  • Pedophiles (people who have sexually abused children) often require intense psychological and pharmacological therapy prior to release into the community because of the high rate of repeat offenders.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2013

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