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Child Abuse or Neglect Investigations

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Title: Child Abuse or Neglect Investigations


1
Child Abuse or Neglect Investigations
  • New Mexico Department of Public Safety, Advanced
    Training Bureau
  • NMDPS Accreditation NM 11-65D

2
  • INSTRUCTIONAL GOALS Demonstrate an understanding
    and knowledge concerning the crime and social
    issue of child abuse, including the dynamics of
    why people abuse children and the results of that
    abuse. Law enforcement is charged with
    investigating these cases, alongside social
    service agencies.
  •  

3
  • INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES This course is designed
    to provide Law Enforcement with information
    concerning child abuse.
  •  
  • 1. The officer will be able to define what
    constitutes a child abuse.
  • 2. The officer will be able to recognize the
    different types of child abuse physical,
    emotional, sexual neglect
  •  
  • 3. The officer will have an understanding of the
    statutes as they related to child abuse and
    neglect
  •  
  • 4. The officer will have an understanding of the
    basic requirements of how to conduct a child
    abuse investigation and the identified types of
    abuse
  •  
  • 5. The officer will have an understanding of the
    basics of child neglect
  •  

4
  • 6. The officer will have an understanding of the
    basics of emotional child abuse.
  •  
  • 7. The officer will have an understanding of the
    basics of sexual child abuse
  •  
  • 8. The officer will have an understanding of how
    to remove a child from the home and the legal
    requirements to make that decision.
  •  
  • 9. The officer will have a basic understanding
    of the dynamics concerning pedophiles.
  •  
  • 10. The officer will have an understanding of
    the reporting requirements as it pertains to
    child abuse
  •  
  • 11. The officer will have an understanding of
    the dynamics of a SIDS death.
  •  
  • 12. The officer will have an understanding of the
    steps to take when a child is reported missing
    and how to enter the child into the NCIC computer
    system.
  •  

5
  • There are four major types of child maltreatment
    physical abuse, child neglect, sexual abuse, and
    emotional abuse.

6
Physical Abuse
  • Physical abuse is the infliction of physical
    injury as a result of punching, beating, kicking,
    biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a
    child.

7
Child Neglect
  • Child neglect is characterized by failure to
    provide for the child's basic needs. Neglect can
    be physical, educational, or emotional.

8
Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual abuse includes fondling a child's
    genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy,
    exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation
    through prostitution or the production of
    pornographic materials.

9
Emotional Abuse (Psychological/Verbal
Abuse/Mental Injury)
  • Emotional abuse includes acts or omissions by the
    parents or other caregivers that have caused, or
    could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive,
    emotional, or mental disorders.

10
  • Although any of the forms of child maltreatment
    may be found separately, they often occur in
    combination. Emotional abuse is almost always
    present when other forms are identified.

11
What is the size of the problem from the
latest statistical data?
  • How Many Children Die Each Year From Child Abuse
    or Neglect?
  • The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System
    (NCANDS) reported an estimated 1,740 child
    fatalities in 2008. This translates to a rate of
    2.33 children per 100,000 children in the general
    population. NCANDS defines "child fatality" as
    the death of a child caused by an injury
    resulting from abuse or neglect, or where abuse
    or neglect was a contributing factor.

12
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13
Definition
  • Child Abuse is the non-accidental injury of a
    child, consisting of one episode or several
    episodes of injuries ranging from minor to fatal.

14
NM Statutes
  • 30-6-1 Abandonment or Abuse of a Child
  • 30-6-2 Abandonment of Dependant
  • 30-6-4 Obstruction of Reporting or Investigation
    of Child Abuse or Neglect
  • 32A-4-2 Definitions
  • 32A-4-3 Duty to Report Child Abuse or Neglect
  • 32A-4-6 Taking into Custody

15
30-6-1. Abandonment or abuse of a child
  •  
  • A.     As used in this section
  •  
  • (1)     "child" means a person who is less than
    eighteen years of age 
  •  
  • (2)     "neglect" means that a child is without
    proper parental care and control of subsistence,
    education, medical or other care or control
    necessary for the child's well-being because of
    the faults or habits of the child's parents,
    guardian or custodian or their neglect or
    refusal, when able to do so, to provide them and
  •  
  • (3)     "negligently" refers to criminal
    negligence and means that a person knew or should
    have known of the danger involved and acted with
    a reckless disregard for the safety or health of
    the child. 
  •  
  • B.     Abandonment of a child consists of the
    parent, guardian or custodian of a child
    intentionally leaving or abandoning the child
    under circumstances whereby the child may or does
    suffer neglect.  A person who commits abandonment
    of a child is guilty of a misdemeanor, unless the
    abandonment results in the child's death or great
    bodily harm, in which case the person is guilty
    of a second degree felony.
  •  
  • C.     A parent, guardian or custodian who leaves
    an infant less than ninety days old in compliance
    with the Safe Haven for Infants Act 24-22-1 NMSA
    1978 shall not be prosecuted for abandonment of
    a child. 
  •  
  • D.     Abuse of a child consists of a person
    knowingly, intentionally or negligently, and
    without justifiable cause, causing or permitting
    a child to be
  •  
  • (1)     placed in a situation that may endanger
    the child's life or health
  •  
  • (2)     tortured, cruelly confined or cruelly
    punished or
  •  

16
30-6-1. Abandonment or abuse of a child.
Continued
  • E.     A person who commits abuse of a child that
    does not result in the child's death or great
    bodily harm is, for a first offense, guilty of a
    third degree felony and for second and subsequent
    offenses is guilty of a second degree felony.  If
    the abuse results in great bodily harm to the
    child, the person is guilty of a first degree
    felony.
  •  
  • F.     A person who commits negligent abuse of a
    child that results in the death of the child is
    guilty of a first degree felony.
  •  
  • G.     A person who commits intentional abuse of
    a child twelve to eighteen years of age that
    results in the death of the child is guilty of a
    first degree felony.
  •  
  • H.     A person who commits intentional abuse of
    a child less than twelve years of age that
    results in the death of the child is guilty of a
    first degree felony resulting in the death of a
    child.
  •  
  • I.     Evidence that demonstrates that a child
    has been knowingly, intentionally or negligently
    allowed to enter or remain in a motor vehicle,
    building or any other premises that contains
    chemicals and equipment used or intended for use
    in the manufacture of a controlled substance
    shall be deemed prima facie evidence of abuse of
    the child.
  •  
  • J.     Evidence that demonstrates that a child
    has been knowingly and intentionally exposed to
    the use of methamphetamine shall be deemed prima
    facie evidence of abuse of the child.
  •  
  • K.     A person who leaves an infant less than
    ninety days old at a hospital may be prosecuted
    for abuse of the infant for actions of the person
    occurring before the infant was left at the
    hospital.      

17
30-6-2. Abandonment of dependent
  • Abandonment of dependent consists of a person
    having the ability and means to provide for his
    spouse or minor child's support and abandoning or
    failing to provide for the support of such 
    dependent.   
  •  
  • Whoever commits abandonment of dependent is
    guilty of a fourth degree felony. 

18
30-6-4. Obstruction of reporting or investigation
of child abuse or neglect.
  • Obstruction of reporting or investigation of
    child abuse or neglect consists of   
  •  
  • A.     knowingly inhibiting, preventing,
    obstructing or intimidating another from
    reporting, pursuant to Section 32-1-15 NMSA 1978,
    child abuse or neglect, including child sexual
    abuse or   
  •  
  • B.     knowingly obstructing, delaying,
    interfering with or denying access to a law
    enforcement officer or child protective services
    social worker in the investigation of a report of
    child abuse or sexual abuse.   
  •  
  • Whoever commits obstruction of reporting or
    investigation of child abuse or neglect is guilty
    of a misdemeanor. 

19
32A-4-2 Definitions  
  • Review Statutory Definitions as used in the Abuse
    and Neglect Act sections A I as contained
    within the NM Criminal Code or contained in the
    lesson plan.

20
32A-4-3. Duty to report child abuse and child
neglect responsibility to investigate child
abuse or neglect penalty.
  • Review Statutory elements of this offense in the
    NM Criminal Code, or as contained within the
    lesson plan.

21
32A-4-6. Taking into custody penalty
  • Review Statutory elements of this offense in the
    NM Criminal Code, or as contained within the
    lesson plan.

22
2011 Senate Bill 77
  • RELATING TO LAW ENFORCEMENT PROVIDING FOR CHILD
    ABUSE
  • INCIDENT TRAINING FOR POLICE OFFICERS.
  • BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF
    NEW MEXICO
  • SECTION 1. A new section of the Law Enforcement
  • Training Act is enacted to read
  • "CHILD ABUSE INCIDENT TRAINING.--Child abuse
    incident
  • training shall be included in the curriculum of
    each basic
  • law enforcement training class. Child abuse
    incident
  • training shall be included as a component of
    in-service
  • training each year for certified police
    officers."
  • SECTION 2. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of
    the
  • provisions of this act is July 1, 2011.

23
Elements of Abuse
  • Abuse most often occurs in the home. Three
    elements are involved to create an abusive
    environment
  • 1) the abuser
  • 2) the abused
  • 3) a crisis.

24
Abuser
  • Usually the parent or caretaker
  • Perpetrators include
  • mothers
  • fathers
  • boyfriends
  • stepfathers
  • babysitters, .etc.

25
Characteristics of Abusers
  • History of having been abused themselves.
    (explain the cycle of abuse)
  • Tend to keep to themselves
  • Move from place to place
  • Tend to be young
  • Alcohol/Drug abuse
  • Mate knows about the abuse, ignores or even
    participates in it.

26
The Abused
  • The child victim. Children under two are most at
    risk. Non-verbal and non-ambulatory.
  • Handicapped children at high risk.
  • Adopted children or reconstituted families
    (yours, mine ours)
  • Sickly, unattractive, unwanted child at risk.

27
The Crisis
  • The factor that sets the abusive parent in motion
    causing them to lose control and start the abuse.
  • Parent overreacts, usually as a result of
    stresses.
  • ANYTHING CAN BE A CRISIS

28
Types of Abuse
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Neglect

29
  • There are a number of indicators or types of
    physical abuse and the assessment of the
    injuries.
  • Discuss the elements contained within the lesson
    plan.

30
Behavioral Indicators
  • There are a number of indicators or types of
    behavioral abuse and the manifestation of the
    indicators.
  • Discuss the elements contained within the lesson
    plan.

31
Investigation
  • Level of response depends upon the following
  • Nature of the call (in-progress vs. old injury)
  • Age of the child(ren) or special condition (e.g.,
    developmentally disabled)
  • Imminent danger to child without intervention
  • Immediate need for medical attention
  • Reliability and authenticity of reporting party.
  • History of prior reports
  • Note The need for a warrantless entry should be
    determined using the above criteria.

32
Evidence Collection
  • Photographs of the victim and/or the crime scene.
    Photographs of bruises should be taken several
    days apart to document age and severity.
  • Medical information
  • Instruments/weapons that caused the injury
  • Statements of victim(s) witness/parents
  • Documentation of observations
  • Note The most common instrument of abuse are
    hands and feet.

33
Child Neglect
  • Child Neglect defined Any Child
  • who has been abandoned by his parents, guardians,
    custodians or
  • Who is without proper parental care, control,
    subsistence, education, medical or other care
    necessary for well being or
  • Whose parent, guardian or custodian is unable to
    discharge responsibilities for the child or
  • Who has been placed for care or adoption in
    violation of law.
  • State statute 30-6-1(listed earlier)

34
  • Abuse action against a child
  • Neglect lack of action for the child

35
Child neglect indicators
  • There are a number of indicators or types of
    Child Neglect and the manifestation of the
    indicators.
  • Discuss the elements contained within the lesson
    plan.

36
  • It is important to distinguish between neglect
    and poverty or poor parenting skills. While some
    of these conditions may exist in the home
    environment, it is the extreme or persistent
    presence of these factors that indicates some
    degree of neglect.

37
Emotional Abuse/Deprivation
  • There are a number of indicators or types of
    Child Emotional Abuse/Deprivation and the
    manifestation of the indicators.
  • Discuss the elements contained within the lesson
    plan.

38
Sexual Abuse Exploitation of Children
  • Sexual Abuse is described as contact with a child
    where the child is being used for sexual
    stimulation of the other person. Sexual abuse can
    be committed by a person of any age. The abuser
    is often older than the victim and/or in a
    position of authority over the child.

39
30-6A-3. Sexual exploitation of children
  • Review Statutory elements as contained within the
    NM Criminal Code or contained in the lesson plan.

40
30-9-1. Enticement of Child
  • Enticement of child consists of   
  •  
  • A.     enticing, persuading or attempting to
    persuade a child under the age of sixteen years
    to enter any vehicle, building, room or secluded
    place with intent to commit an act which would
    constitute a crime under Article 9 30-9-1 to
    30-9-9 NMSA 1978 of the Criminal Code or   
  •  
  • B.     having possession of a child under the age
    of sixteen years in any vehicle, building, room
    or secluded place with intent to commit an act
    which would constitute a crime under Article 9 of
    the Criminal Code.   
  •  
  • Whoever commits enticement of child is guilty of
    a misdemeanor. 

41
30-9-13. Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor
  • Review Statutory elements as contained within the
    NM Criminal Code or contained in the lesson plan.

42
30-9-11. Criminal Sexual Penetration.
  • Review Statutory elements as contained within the
    NM Criminal Code or contained in the lesson plan.

43
30-10-3. Incest
  • Incest consists of knowingly intermarrying or
    having sexual intercourse with persons within the
    following degrees of consanguinity parents and
    children including grandparents and grandchildren
    of every degree, brothers and sisters of the half
    as well as of the whole blood, uncles and nieces,
    aunts and nephews.   
  •  
  • Whoever commits incest is guilty of a third
    degree felony.  

44
  • Sexual Abuse Indicators
  • Sexual abuse of a child may surface through a
    broad range of physical, behavioral, and social
    symptoms

45
  • Historical indicators
  • Child reports sexual activities to a friend,
    classmate, teacher, friends mother, or other
    trusted adult. The disclosure may be direct or
    indirect, ex. I know somebody what would you
    do if? I heard something about somebody. It
    is not uncommon for the disclosure to be delayed.

46
  • Physical Indicators
  • Child wears torn, stained, or bloody
    underclothing.
  • Difficulty in walking or sitting
  • Pain in genital area
  • Bruises or bleeding in vaginal or anal areas
  • Venereal disease, especially in pre-teens
  • Pregnancy

47
  • Sexual behavioral indicators of children
  • Detailed and age-inappropriate understanding of
    sexual behavior (especially by younger children)
  • Inappropriate, unusual or aggressive sexual
    behavior with peers or toys
  • Excessive / compulsive masturbation
  • Unusually seductive with classmates, teachers,
    and other adults.
  • Prostitution or excessive promiscuity
  • Excessive concern about homosexuality, especially
    in boys.

48
  • Behavioral indicators in younger children
  • Frequent bathing
  • School problems or significant change in school
    performance (attitude and grades)
  • Running away from home
  • Seductive behavior
  • Sleeping disturbances, ex. Nightmares, fearful
    about falling asleep.
  • Fecal soiling

49
Behavioral indicators in older children and
adolescents
  • Withdrawal
  • Poor hygiene or excessive bathing
  • Poor peer relations and social skills, inability
    to make friends.
  • Acting out, runaway, aggressive or delinquent
    behavior
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • School problems, frequent absences, sudden drop
    in school performance
  • Refusal to dress for physical education
  • Fearful of showers / restrooms
  • Fearful of home life, ex. Arrives at school early
    or leaves late.
  • Crying without provocation
  • Fire setting
  • Suicide attempt or other self-destructive
    behavior

50
Offender Indicators Intra-familial- Father or
Father Figure
  • Overprotective / jealous
  • Strict disciplinarian
  • Secretive / anxiety ridden
  • Low self esteem
  • Substance abuse

51
Mother or Mother Figure
  • There are instances of intra-familial sexual
    abuse by females. However, little is known about
    behavioral indicators, family dynamics and
    characteristics.

52
Family Indicators
  • Isolation
  • Overcrowding in the home in sleeping arrangements
  • Absence of one parent

53
Protective Custody Assessment in Child Abuse
  • The officer should determine the need for
    protective custody of the victim(s), siblings,
    and others by taking into consideration the
    following factors
  • Need for medical care
  • Imminent danger of continued abuse, intimidation
    or retaliation
  • Whether non-offending parent is appropriately
    supportive and protective of the child. Be
    careful here.
  • Whether physical environment poses an immediate
    threat to the childs health and safety
  • History of prior offenses or allegations of
    physical or sexual abuse
  • Parent or guardian capable of or willing to
    exercise care and control over the child.

54
  • Police officers may remove children from the home
    based on the circumstances. Children, Youth and
    Family workers may request the children be
    removed. The final decision rests with the
    police. You must maintain a working relationship
    with CYFD because they will be able to assist you
    in the investigation of the criminal offense and
    they will become instrumental in placing the
    child in a temporary safe environment.

55
Pedophiles
  • Officers also need to understand the dynamics of
    a pedophile. Not all offenders in child sexual
    abuse cases are pedophiles.
  • There are a number of indicators of a pedophile
    and the manifestation of the indicators.
  • Discuss the elements contained within the lesson
    plan.

56
Reporting Child Abuse
  • The reporting requirements While everyone
    should report suspected child abuse and neglect,
    State Statute 32A-4-3 (as already
    discussed)provides that it is a crime for certain
    professionals and laypersons who have a special
    working relationship or contact with children may
    not report suspected abuse to the proper
    authorities. Failure to do so is a misdemeanor.
    This penalty ensures that those required to do so
    will report all suspected incidents of child
    abuse immediately to the appropriate agencies.

57
  • Child abuse and neglect investigations are a
    joint responsibility of the police and Children,
    Youth Family worker. Under law, any person
    reporting an instance of alleged neglect or abuse
    is presumed to be acting In good faith and is
    immune from liability unless acting maliciously
    or in bad faith.

58
  • Protective custody A child may be taken into
    custody by a law enforcement officer when the
    officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a
    child is suffering from illness or injury, or has
    been abandoned, or is in danger from the childs
    surroundings, parents are hiding the child or is
    in need of medical attention. 32A-4-6.

59
Police liability for failing to insure the
protection of the child
  • If an officer negligently fails to place an
    endangered child in protective custody, that
    officer may be civilly liable for damages if the
    child suffers further injuries. Whenever there
    is doubt as to the need for protective custody,
    the decision should be made in favor of
    protective custody if there is evidence to
    support it.

60
An officer should never leave the abused or
neglected child with neighbors or friends of the
childs family in situations where protective
custody is required.
  • The presence of siblings in the home should be
    considered when determining protective custody.
    When one child victim is removed, the abusing
    parent or caretaker may abuse another child.
    While only one child may have been identified,
    others may also be subject to abuse.

61
Victim Interview
  • Every effort should be made to minimize the
    number of interviews with the child victim.
    Techniques to consider may include
  • Coordination of the investigation with Children,
    Youth Family Department so that both agencies
    can be present during interviews.
  • Consultation with the district attorneys office
  • Use of audio and/or video recordings. If your
    community has access to a Safe House
    environment, it becomes a great asset for
    videotaping.
  • Always conduct a thorough and well documented
    interview.

62
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • SIDS, commonly known as crib death or cot
    death is the number one cause of death in
    infants between one month and one year of age.
    About 6500 babies die of SIDS every year in the
    United States.
  •  
  • SIDS cannot be predicted or prevented, even by a
    physician. It almost always occurs during sleep.
    The typical SIDE case involves an apparently
    health infant, usually between the ages of 4
    weeks and 7 months, who has suddenly died. No
    illness has been present although the baby may
    have had signs of a slight cold. There is no
    indication that the baby struggled or cried out
    while dying.
  •  

63
  Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • The only way SIDS can be conclusively diagnosed
    is by an autopsy. Diagnosis is made only after
    all other causes of death have been ruled out.
  •  
  • You as a first responder can only suspect SIDS as
    the cause of death. As a first responder, you
    need to know some of the identifying features
    characteristic of the SIDS victim as opposed to
    an abused child. The following table is a list of
    the general physical characteristics of each.

64
SIDS
  • Things to look for and note
  • Physical appearance of the baby
  • Position of baby in crib, may account for marks
    on childs head or body.
  • Physical appearance of crib
  • Appearance of room/house
  • Behaviors of persons present.
  •  

65
  • What is the role of the police officer
  •  
  • Initiate CPR efforts if the infant is not
    obviously dead.
  • Conduct an investigation that will help
    determine the cause of death.
  • Provide leadership and protection to the SIDS
    family
  •  
  • Be in command of your own feelings. This can be
    difficult because of your own children, but be
    professional and act in a calm, efficient manner,
    exhibiting kind concern.
  • Your actions can have a positive impact on the
    grieving family.

66
Questions?
  • We would strongly recommend you develop a solid
    working relationship with your regions CYFD case
    workers, safe houses, victims advocates, child
    psychologists or other regional service providers
    and your District Attorneys Office prior to an
    incident so everyone is on the same page!
  • Remember, the child's welfare is our primary
    concern in these cases!!
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