July 10, 2018

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Document ALL Allegations of Child Abuse!

 
Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for law enforcement. It deals with documenting possible child abuse. 

It is vital to document ALL allegations of child abuse, even when there’s not enough evidence to make an arrest.

One of the roles of law enforcement is to protect those who are most vulnerable, our children. 

Child abuse investigations can be complicated and difficult. Sometimes the person making the report has only a bare suspicion, but no solid evidence. Sometimes the child discloses abuse to a trusted adult but then recants. Sometimes the suspected abuser is a parent or guardian who provides a logical explanation for obvious injuries. It can be frustrating when the investigating officer suspects abuse, but the evidence does not support an arrest.  

It is vital to document ALL allegations of child abuse, even when there’s not enough evidence to make an arrest. Over time, trends may emerge, or an investigator may discover more evidence later.  

ALWAYS document the specific allegations and facts in a child abuse investigation. Even when you don’t make an arrest or when the allegations appear unfounded. It will be helpful to have this information when another officer goes back to the same house and hears the same explanation for a child’s injuries. This is one of the reasons why your department’s policy probably requires you to take a report in EVERY child abuse investigation, even when the allegations cannot be substantiated. 

The child abuse report that you take, may not result in an arrest TODAY. But MAY lead to an arrest in the future. The report that you take today may prevent future abuse and may save the life of an innocent child. Always take the report. 

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham, signing off. 

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