Emergency department evaluation of child abuse

Aaron N. Leetch, Dale Woolridge

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Child abuse presents commonly to emergency departments. Emergency providers are confronted with medical, social, and legal dilemmas with each case. A solid understanding of the definitions and risk factors of victims and perpetrators aids in identifying abuse cases. Forensic examination should be performed only after the child is medically stable. Emergency providers are mandatory reporters of a reasonable suspicion of abuse. The role of the emergency provider is to identify abuse, facilitate a thorough investigation, treat medical needs, protect the patient, provide an unbiased medical consultation to law enforcement, and to provide an ethical testimony if called to court.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)853-873
Number of pages21
JournalEmergency medicine clinics of North America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Child abuse
  • Child maltreatment
  • Emergency
  • Nonaccidental trauma
  • Retinal hemorrhage
  • Rib fractures
  • Sexual abuse
  • Shaken baby syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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