The Child Abuse Expert Witness

Medical_0003What areas may child abuse expert witnesses consult on?  These experts provide the knowledge and insight necessary in cases involving the emotional or physical harm to a child. This may include neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Child abuse experts may be asked to opine on the results of a psychological assessment to determine whether any psychological damage or pediatric trauma has occurred. They will evaluate whether a parent or caregiver has caused any non-accidental physical injury to a child.

Childwelfare.gov explains that Federal legislation lays the groundwork for State laws on child maltreatment by identifying a minimum set of acts or behaviors that define child abuse and neglect.

The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), (42 U.S.C.A.  §5106g), as amended and reauthorized by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum:

Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.

Within the minimum standards set by CAPTA, each State is responsible for providing its own definitions of child abuse and neglect. Most States recognize the four major types of maltreatment: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Signs and symptoms for each type of maltreatment are listed below. Additionally, many States identify abandonment and parental substance abuse as abuse or neglect. While these types of maltreatment may be found separately, they often occur in combination.

The child abuse expert witness is trained to write reports, consult, and testify in cases involving child maltreatment.  Their expertise includes the assessment of psychological damage as well as pediatric trauma. The child abuse expert is a critical component in this type of litigation.

About Karen Olson

Information Professional with twenty years experience in legal, public record, and business research. Fifteen years law firm experience.

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