Our school abuse expertise involves three main categories, and we’ve provided such services for civil and criminal cases (for prosecution, plaintiff and defense):
Recognition of Abuse by School Professionals
School professionals are mandated reporters of potential abuse. However, they may not be experts in the interpretation of what behaviors and injuries are abusive. Thus, especially with civil matters involving missed abuse in a school setting, it is prudent for a medical forensic specialist and/or an expert in forensic mental health components of abuse (behaviors and disclosures) to provide an expert review of such cases.
Sexual Abuse by School Professionals
Potential perpetrators of sexual or physical abuse may be a person who is entrusted with the care and well-being of a child. This may include individuals within the school setting, potentially perpetrator grooming the child over a period of time. School is an opportunity where the close associate pattern of sexual abuse may take place, with the perpetrators in this case being teachers, coaches, counselors, or principals. Both boys and girls may be victims. Although this type of abuse may take the form of coerced sexual activities, often, especially for adolescents, it may appear to be a consensual relationship between an underage student and a teacher or other staff.
Physical Abuse by School Professionals
Corporal punishment by school personnel still occurs in some districts. This usually consists of an adult hitting the child’s buttocks with a wooden paddle, and may be perceived as physical abuse or even sexual assault by some children. Children with disabilities are at particular risk for abuse within schools. This heightens the importance of the child’s individualized educational plan (IEP) clearly outlining when if ever there is a role for physical redirection.