Completing expert objective and evidence-based forensic interviews and medical evaluations of potential cases involving sexual or physical abuse of children with disabilities is essential in the investigation of these cases. Individuals with disabilities have higher rates of sexual and physical abuse across all geographic regions, populations, ages and gender. However, the reporting, investigation and prosecution of such cases presents unique challenges.
Medical Issues in Child Abuse and Disabilities
Our forensic pediatrician and our PhD forensic interviews experts have specialized experience in the crossroads of developmental disabilities and child sexual or physical abuse. Analysis of the medical evidentiary examination includes evidence collection, documentation of potential injuries (genital and other body areas) and may serve as a key element prosecution. Thus, careful review by an expert in the area of child abuse and disabilities is paramount in the analysis of these cases to assure evidence-based and objective techniques and interpretation was utilized.
Forensic Interview Issues in Child Abuse and Disabilities
Analysis of forensic interviews in cases of children with developmental disabilities is also of critical importance in these cases. Adherence to objective protocols is challenging in these cases and, yet there are still methods for obtaining information in a manner that would dissuade suggestibility and be most forensically valid. To do an examination and forensic interview properly, the examiner should have specific training, expertise, supervision and engage in peer review to ensure that the process meets the test of reliability required by a court. Unfortunately, most professionals engaged in these assessments are not routinely familiarized or trained with the management of potential victims of sexual assault or abuse who have disabilities.