HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) — It’s a problem that we don’t often hear about but last year, the Northwestern District Attorney’s office handeled hundreds of cases of child abuse.
Friday, physicians, EMT’s, police officers and children’s advocacy teams gathered for a medical symposium on child abuse.
The event covered topics including abusive head trauma, child sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, and dynamics of disclosure, as well as testifying as an expert witness in cases of child abuse.
For young victims, the physical wounds aren’t the only impression left by abuse.
“The physical effects or signs of abuse can be fractures, lacerations, and signs of physical injury, but the effects of mental abuse are long lasting. They can affect you. You can get post traumatic stress. People have problems when they are in their 30′s and 40′s from events that took place when they were six or seven years old, so it’s very important that we get all this knowledge out, diagnose it when we can and do something about it,” explains Dr. R. F. Conway, pediatric forensic examiner with the Northwestern D.A.’s office.
The goal of the symposium was to help participants identify child abuse, understand the family dynamics that occur when a child discloses abuse, and why those dynamics may cause a child to recant those allegations.
They emphasized using well-child doctors visits as an opportunity to screen for signs of abuse and neglect.