Medical Exams - Focus is on the Child

 

Abuse is a horrible thing and there are people who daily address the needs of abused children in caring and loving ways. This week we are talking about the process of a medical examination, which is essential for reporting and eventually prosecution of perpetrators of child abuse.

Childhelp Children's Centers partner with local hospitals who handle all of the medical examinations. These caring physicians complete medical examinations of children that come through the Childhelp Children's Center and also review cases concerning child pornography and children who are now deceased to provide their professional opinions. Medical exams for suspected physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or neglect cases are referred to the physicians at Childhelp only by law enforcement and Child Protective Services. On rare occasions will courts order a medical exam.

Once a child is referred to Childhelp, the physicians first access the child's medical history and familiarize themselves with their records. Next, they have a briefing with the parents or guardians before meeting with the child. When it is time for the exam, younger children typically are accompanied by a non-offending parent into the exam room as a support. Older children and teenagers have their choice of whether or not they want to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The rooms are decorated in child friendly themes and are designed to be warm and welcoming.

The medical exam is comprised of a full physical check up with emphasis on areas of concern. If the allegations are for sexual abuse a more thorough exam is done in order to document the possible abuse. The children are in complete control during the medical exam and if at any point they feel uncomfortable, the physician will stop the exam.

If there are specific physical injuries/wounds such as, bruises, burns, fractures etc. these are looked into more carefully. In each case pictures are taken for evidentiary purposes.

After the exam, the child goes to the bright and cheerful playroom to have fun and play. The physician then writes a full report on the findings of the exam. The reports are important for documentation and prosecution and sometimes physicians are called to testify in court.

We want to thank our talented and dedicated teams of physicians at the Childhelp Children's Centers who on a daily basis provide their expertise to help our treasured children.

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