What is Child Abuse Assessment?
As a Children’s Advocacy Center, we play a unique and critical role in the community alongside law enforcement, DHS, medical professionals, and other public services.
When parents, teachers, police, or other members of the community have concerns that a child may be the victim of abuse, law enforcement can refer the child to Liberty House for an assessment.
Each child is served on an individual basis, only receiving what they need and always proceeding with their consent. A typical assessment includes:
- A comprehensive medical exam to determine and document the extent of any injuries, providing or referring further medical care if necessary.
- A professionally conducted and recorded forensic interview so a child will not have to retell and relive their trauma to multiple parties.
- A meeting with one of our family support specialists to answer questions about next steps and to provide resources.
A forensic interview of a child is a developmentally-sensitive and legally sound method of gathering information regarding allegations of abuse and/or exposure to violence. This interview is conducted by a neutral professional utilizing research and practice-informed techniques as a part of a larger investigative process.
Questions are asked in a very open-ended manner to ensure that no biased or leading information is introduced. At every step in the conversation the child may choose whether or not to answer a question. Sometimes children want to talk about things that have happened but feel unsure in the interview. In these situations, the interviewer may offer encouragement, but the child chooses whether or not they proceed.
Our forensic interviewers are trained professionals. They have a variety of educational backgrounds, often related to social or behavioral science, child development and family dynamics. To support the continuing development of their skills, our staff participates in ongoing training and a peer review process. This ensures that we are aware of the most current research leading to best practice.
Offering a medical exam as part of the evaluation process ensures that children who are seen at Liberty House have their needs assessed in a comprehensive manner. Sometimes children who have experienced abuse or neglect have impacts on their health that are best evaluated by a specially trained medical professional. This can help children receive care that is specific to their needs. No part of the exam is forced. The exam is offered in an environment in which children are empowered to exercise control over their own body and provides them an opportunity to ask questions about their body and health.
The medical exams are provided by licensed medical professionals who have training and experience specific to child safety concerns. They are skilled in working with children and families and provide a welcoming atmosphere to help children feel comfortable in the check-up room.
Family Support services are offered as a resource for caregivers when concerns for children’s safety arise. The issues that bring children and families to Liberty House can be very challenging, and it is common for caregivers to have questions and feel unsure about what to do and who to turn to. Our Family Support Specialists are trained professionals who have a variety of educational backgrounds, often related to social or behavioral science, child development, and family dynamics.
During an appointment, our Family Support Specialists spend time with caregivers to answer whatever questions and concerns they may have. We can provide information and resources covering a wide range of topics including child safety matters, the legal process, accessing community services, and beginning the healing process.
We are dedicated to creating a safe and child-friendly environment for everyone who comes through our doors. If you have an upcoming appointment and have any questions, please call 503-540-0288
Note: Many photos on our website are staged with volunteers and their children. Actual images of our work are not published to protect those we serve.