• December 2014/January 2015
  • Vol. 15, No. 11

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Investigating Child Injuries: Abuse or Illness?

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released a portable guide for first responders on how to investigate child abuse. Recognizing When a Child's Injury or Illness Is Caused by Abuse is designed for professionals to aid in differentiating whether injuries inflicted on a child are intended or unintended.

Child abuse cases require cautious investigation by multiple professionals to determine the cause of the injuries. In order to conclude if the injuries were intended or not, a thorough yet complex assessment is required. To assist professionals in completing a comprehensive assessment, the guide provides information on the various types of injuries, signs and symptoms, and potential causes. Additionally, because many medical conditions can resemble an inflicted injury, the guide provides insight on how to differentiate between injuries and an illness.

Law enforcement and related professionals may use the guide to help indicate child abuse, explore the causes, understand the difference between injury and illness, and access educational and valuable resources. Recognizing When a Child's Injury or Illness Is Caused by Abuse is available on the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention website at http://ojjdp.gov/pubs/243908.pdf (1,320 KB).

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