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Reminder: report SUSPECTED child abuse
e-Reports, Oct. 22, 2012
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In 2008, the journal Pediatrics noted that lack of certainty and a previous negative experience with child protective services are the most common reasons physicians do not report suspected child abuse.

Indiana law requires everyone who suspects child abuse to report it either to police or to the Indiana Department of Child Services Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at (800) 800-5556. If you don’t, you could be subject to a Class B misdemeanor – a penalty resulting in a jail term of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $1,000. You also could be found liable for medical malpractice. Even worse, a child could die.

If you are not certain that a child has been abused, the ISMA encourages you to err on the side of the child and file a report.

“Sometimes possible child abuse is not reported because the story seemed believable,” said ISMA General Counsel Julie Reed. “But physicians are not required to determine if abuse is actually occurring. They are simply required to report the suspicion of abuse. At that point, the child abuse authorities can take over, conduct further fact-finding and evaluate the entire situation, including the physician’s report.”

Any report can be made anonymously and all reports are confidential. Further, you are protected by any civil or criminal liability as you are assumed to be acting in good faith.

The Indiana Department of Child Services offers a form you can use to document and report suspected child abuse and neglect. Find it on the in.gov website.

Seminar boosts knowledge – and confidence

On Oct. 26, the Children’s Justice Act will host a conference that can help you become more confident in assessing suspected child abuse cases with strategies to improve reporting and identifying child abuse and neglect.

The multidisciplinary training will include topics such as:

  • Fractures in children – when to consider child abuse
  • Injuries in infants
  • Finding and helping the “hidden victims” – responding to children at the scene
  • Burns – accidental or intentional injury
  • Fractures in children – when to consider child abuse
  • Evidentiary issues in CHINS cases

For details, see here.

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For a more detailed sitemap click here.