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Report
Christina Rainville, J.D.
Chief Deputy State’s Attorney
Bennington County
 33
V.S.A. § 4913: “has reasonable cause to
believe that any child has been abused or
neglected”
 Report must be made within 24 hours
 $500 fine
 If not reported “with the intent to conceal
abuse or neglect”: imprisonment up to 6
months
 DO
NOT NEED TO KNOW WITH CERTAINTY
 NOT YOUR JOB TO DETERMINE IF IT IS TRUE
 LEAVE THE INVESTIGATION TO THE EXPERTS
BY MAKING THE CALL
 YOUR INFORMATION IS JUST ONE PIECE OF
THE INVESTIGATION
 CALL
IMMEDIATELY – DON’T WAIT 24 HOURS
 ALL PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF ABUSE IS
FLEETING
 BRUISES AND TEARS HEAL
 SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE TYPICALLY GONE
WITHIN 72 HOURS
 DCF WILL ACT QUICKLY TO REMOVE CHILD
FROM HOME IF THERE IS ABUSE AT HOME
 DELAYED
DISCLOSURE IN SEXUAL ABUSE CASES
RESULTS IN ADDITIONAL SEXUAL ABUSE
 ESCALATING PHYSICAL ABUSE LEADS TO MORE
SERIOUS INJURIES
 TRAUMATIZED CHILDREN DEVELOP PTSD
 MEDICAL RECORDS SHOW SIGNS
 IN RETROSPECT, ABUSE SIGNS WERE ALL
THERE
 DCF WAS NEVER CALLED
 14
YEAR-OLD GIRL AT EMERGENCY ROOM
 MOTHER AND STEP-FATHER WITH HER
 VAGINAL BLEEDING, PAIN
 HANGER PROTRUDING FROM HER VAGINA
 GIRL REPORTS SHE WOKE UP THAT WAY AND
DOESN’T KNOW HOW IT GOT THERE
 MEDICAL STAFF INQUIRES: IS SHE SEXUALLY
ACTIVE? CONCERNED ABOUT POTENTIAL
PREGNANCY? DID SHE DO THIS HERSELF?
 THEY REMOVE HANGER AND SEND HER HOME
 WHY
DIDN’T THEY TAKE ME IN A ROOM AWAY
FROM MY PARENTS AND ASK ME WHAT
HAPPENED?
 I WAS WAITING FOR THEM TO ASK ME ALONE
 IF THEY HAD DONE THAT, I WOULD HAVE BEEN
SAFE
 INSTEAD, THEY SENT ME HOME WITH HIM AND
HE CONTINUED TO ABUSE ME FOR YEARS
 EVEN WORSE: HE REPEATEDLY SODOMIZED MY
YOUNG COUSINS
 WHY DID THE DOCTORS FAIL US?
 IN
ANY INJURY CASE WITH A VERBAL CHILD,
QUESTION THE CHILD OUTSIDE THE
PRESENCE OF CAREGIVERS
 PARENTS CAN DO UNSPEAKABLE THINGS TO
CHILDREN: NEVER ASSUME IT WAS AN
ACCIDENT OR SELF-INFLICTED
 CALL DCF
 CHILD
HAS DRAMATIC WEIGHT LOSS AT WELLBABY CHECK
 TWO SIBLINGS HAVE LOW/NORMAL WEIGHT
 NO OBVIOUS MEDICAL REASON FOR SUDDEN
WEIGHT LOSS
 DOCTOR ARRANGES FOR CHILD TO SEE
SPECIALIST AT DARTMOUTH ABOUT WEIGHT
LOSS
 DCF NOT CALLED
CHILD SEEN AT WIC CENTER: NURSE AT STATE
HEALTH DEPARTMENT CALLS DCF ABOUT WEIGHT
 FAMILY FRIEND CALLS DCF: REPORTS THAT CHILD
“HAS A POT BELLY LIKE STARVING KIDS IN HAITI”
 FRIEND TELLS DCF THAT CAREGIVER NOT
ALLOWING CHILD TO EAT
 INVESTIGATION BY DCF REVEALED THAT
CAREGIVER WAS INTENTIONALLY STARVING THIS
CHILD
 SIBLINGS WERE UNDERWEIGHT, BUT OKAY

 REPORT
ALL FAILURES TO THRIVE WHEN
THERE IS NO OBVIOUS MEDICAL CAUSE
 DON’T WAIT TO SEE A SPECIALIST: CALL NOW
 ALWAYS CONSIDER THAT PARENTAL ABUSE MAY
BE A CAUSE OF FAILURE TO THRIVE
 LET DCF INVESTIGATE WHILE MEDICAL WORK
CONTINUES
9
YEAR OLD REFUSES TO GO TO COUSIN’S
HOUSE
 TELLS MOM THAT OLDER COUSIN HAS BEEN
SODOMIZING HIM
 FAMILY CONFRONTS COUSIN, WHO DENIES IT
 MOM BRINGS 9 YEAR-OLD TO DOCTOR TO SEE
IF REPORT IS TRUE
 DOCTOR MEETS WITH CHILD, DOES NO
INTERNAL EXAM, AND CONCLUDES THERE
WAS NO ABUSE
 BASED
ON DOCTOR’S REPORT, FAMILY DECIDES
9 YEAR-OLD IS LYING
 CONTINUED CONTACT WITH COUSIN RESULTS
IN ADDITIONAL ACTS OF ABUSE
 FAMILY FRIEND CALLS DCF TO REPORT ABUSE
 DCF INVESTIGATION REVEALS ALLEGATIONS
WERE TRUE
 COUSIN CONFESSES
 9 YEAR-OLD HAS PTSD
 IN THE MEANTIME, COUSIN HAS ADDITIONAL
NON-RELATED VICTIM
 IF
A PARENT SUSPECTS ABUSE, CALL DCF AND
GO NO FURTHER: THIS IS AN AREA OF
MEDICINE THAT REQUIRES A SPECIALIST
 SEND THE CHILD TO THE HOSPITAL FOR A
SANE EXAM, OR TO DR. AVERY WOOD (OUR
COUNTY’S CERTIFIED SEXUAL ABUSE DOCTOR)
 MEDICAL EXAMS MUST BE CONDUCTED BY
EXPERTS WHO CAN RETAIN EVIDENCE
ACCORDING TO LEGAL GUIDELINES
 DO THIS IMMEDIATELY: EVIDENCE WILL BE
LOST
 MOM
BRINGS CHILD TO DOCTOR
 MOM SAYS CHILD FALLING A LOT
 BRUISES ALL OVER HEAD
 BRUISES ON UPPER ARMS
 NO REPORT TO DCF
 DAYCARE
CALLS DCF
 DCF INVESTIGATION SHOWS THAT BRUISES
CLEARLY WERE INFLICTED
 MOM INITIALLY BLAMES DOCTOR (“THE
DOCTOR SAID HE WAS FINE”)
 KNOW
WHAT INFLICTED BRUISES LOOK LIKE
 CALL DCF IF THERE IS ANY QUESTION
 DOCUMENT WHAT YOU SEE IN YOUR RECORDS


MEASURE BRUISES
PHOTOGRAPH BRUISES
 DOCUMENT
THE EXPLANATIONS FOR THE
INJURIES


HOW DID THE CHILD FALL?
HOW HIGH WAS THE SURFACE?
 BE
SPECIFIC AND DETAILED IN YOUR RECORDS
 CHILDREN
WITH DISABILITIES ARE AT
ELEVATED RISK OF SEXUAL AND PHYSICAL
ABUSE
 PHYSICAL ABUSE

BOYS ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM
 SEXUAL ABUSE:




AUTISM
DEAFNESS
INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY
ANY COMMUNICATIONS DISABILITY
 90%
OF CHILDREN WHO ARE SEXUALLY
ASSAULTED DEVELOP PTSD
 CHILDREN ALSO DEVELOP PTSD FROM
PHYSICAL ABUSE AND FROM WITNESSING
DOMESTIC ABUSE OF CAREGIVER
 PTSD DIAGNOSIS REQUIRES A TRAUMA, BUT
CHILDREN DON’T DISCLOSE TRAUMATIC
EVENTS
 CHILD WILL PRESENT WITH UNDIAGNOSED
PTSD SYMPTOMS IN YOUR OFFICE
 INABILITY
TO FOCUS: DIAGNOSIS OF
ADD/ADHD
 SLEEP DISTURBANCE: NEED PRESCRIPTION
MEDS
 ANXIETY MEDS
 FAINTING AND SUDDEN UNCONSCIOUSNESS
 CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR NOTED BY PARENTS



UNPROVOKED AGGRESSION
WITHDRAWAL FROM ACTIVITIES
RUNNING OUT OF CLASS/SCHOOL
4
YEAR OLD BROUGHT TO FAMILY DOCTOR
 SUDDEN DIFFICULTY SLEEPING: NEEDS SLEEP
MEDS
 SUDDEN INABILITY TO FOCUS: NEEDS
ADD/ADHD MEDS
 MONTHS LATER, MOM WALKS IN ON FATHER
SEXUALLY ASSAULTING THE CHILD
 CHILD DIAGNOSED WITH PTSD MONTHS AFTER
MEDICAL VISIT
 10
YEAR-OLD TAKEN TO ER, UNCONSCIOUS
 HAPPENED WHEN MOM LOVINGLY TOUCHED
BACK OF HER NECK
 TAKEN TO ER SECOND TIME: SAME THING
HAPPENED WHEN WRESTLING WITH BROTHER
AND HE TOUCHED HER NECK
 PARENT REPORTS CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR:
SCREAMING NIGHTMARES, WITHDRAWAL,
SUDDEN AGGRESSION, VIOLENT
 SENT TO NEUROLOGIST: NO MEDICAL CAUSE
 CHILD LATER REPORTS VIOLENT RAPE
 14
YEAR OLD GOES TO FAMILY DOCTOR
 ADD MEDS NO LONGER WORKING: NEEDS
INCREASE
 CAN’T SLEEP: NEEDS SLEEP MEDS
 SENT TO DARTMOUTH FOR RECTAL BLEEDING
 LATER, DEVELOPS “SUDDEN
UNCONSCIOUSNESS”
 BOY EVENTUALLY DISCLOSES REPEATED
SEXUAL ABUSE
 DIAGNOSED WITH PTSD
 LOOK
FOR SIGNS OF PTSD AND CALL DCF IF
MORE THAN ONE:









LATE ONSET ADD/ADHD
SLEEP DISTURBANCE
CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR
OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER
AGGRESSION
WITHDRAWAL
DEPRESSION
CUTTING
FAINTING/LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
 DCF
HAS MUCH MORE INFORMATION, FROM
MULTIPLE SOURCES
 YOUR INFORMATION PLAYS AN IMPORTANT
PIECE IN THE OVERALL INVESTIGATION
 A CALL TO DCF CAN PREVENT ABUSE AND
PREVENT MORE VICTIMS
 NO ONE EVER REGRETS CALLING DCF: MANY
REGRET NOT CALLING

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