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    An Interview With a Child Who Was Subjected to Violence by His Parents

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    Child abuse can occur across all ethnicities, religions, and education levels. Child abuse takes many forms such as verbal where the child is often talked to negatively. Then, you have physical abuse where a child is hurt physically by beating or kicking. Another form of child abuse is sexually where a child is harmed in a sexual way. For this project I decided to choose case study one, which is child abuse. While doing research for this particular child abuse case, I took the time to looked up several child abuse cases that took place in the town of Chandler ranging from broken legs to the death of a child. The Justice Department reported that several cases of child abuse have been reported and for every one case that is reported two or more will go unreported, and that every 10 seconds a child is abused or raped ( Ark of hope for the Children 2017).

    Chandler police department arrested Melissa Chambers and her boyfriend Travis Darrah as the primary suspects in a child abuse case involving Chambers 4 year old son. An interview from Melissa stated that the child fell from a bunk bed. When the police searched the home of Melissa and Travis and they couldn’t find a bunk bed. In an effort to explain the absence of the bunk beds, Travis just answered, he got rid of it. Text message conversations between Chandler and Darrah would indicate that Travis started to go after the child after he ate his sister’s macaroni. Furthermore, the victim’s mother, Melissa, told her son to lie to the interviewing officer when questioned so that Darrah doesn’t get in trouble. Darrah would later be booked on one count of child abuse and released on bond. Based on the preliminary investigation by the responding officer in conjunction with the confession of the child that he was told by his mother to lie to the police, the couple is arrested and the investigation is started.

    The interview reveals that Darrah is at fault for injuring the child. The mother of the child, Melissa wanting to protect her boyfriend from any punishment told the child to lie to the police. Both Melissa and Travis were charged with one count of child abuse while Melissa received an additional charge of hindering prosecution. Once in custody, law enforcement will initiate the process of investigating the crime. First, Child Protective Services (CPS) will intervene by taking the child away from harm. Additionally, agents from CPS will visit the scene of the crime to collect evidence. In this case, the evidence can be in the form of taking photographs and reviewing the CCTV footage of the time in which the crime took place. Forensic evidence can also be considered upon request by the Chandler police department (Mills, et al., 2011).

    Further investigation can then be done by reviewing police reports from the scene, interviewing the child, the offender and the non offender parent to look for evidence that can be used to prosecute the offender in a court of law. The meetings includes; Interviewing the child When interviewing a child, there are a number of things to considered including who should be around, where it should be done and how to record information. The children’s safety is the upmost important prior to the interview. In most cases, the interview is done at a school, therapist, or psychologist office. The interview should be conducted either by CPS or law enforcement authority or both. Depending on the case, the offender can be included in the initial interview with the child, but in most cases, a child is interviewed alone. If the abuse was done to multiple children, then separate interviews should be done. Information should be recorded in a multitude of forms to include audio, video and photography. (Sperry & Widom, 2013).

    Medical examination Base on the type of abuse, a medical examination should be sought to find the official opinion of a medical officer. Since sexual assault require a medical examination to be done immediately and evidence documented. Injuries and other cases should additionally be examined in order to determine the severity of the injury sustained. Interview with non offending parent Interviews are conducted with the party to provide information that will help link the events. It would be better for the case that these people remained neutral, and maybe they were not present or arrived late to the scene of the crime. In cases of sexual abuse, they provide information on how the suspect had been behaving in recent times with the abused child (Reder & Duncan, 2013).

    Interview with the offender An interview with the offender is done by both the CPS agents and law enforcement authorities. The discussion seeks to listen to their version of the story, and in cases of a confession, it is recorded as evidence (Stoltenborgh et al., 2011). Determination From the collected evidence, the prosecutor can make an assessment and deliberate on the direction the case would take. An accusation is usually presented to the courts after which character witnesses provide testimony supplemental to the evidence submitted for the determination by the judge (Sperry & Widom, 2013). Based on the evidence collected and reviewed by the prosecuting team it’s evident that Travis, Melissa’s boyfriend was the real perpetrator of the abuse. The prosecuting team will line up evidence to present to the judge and the jury which argues that Travis perpetrated the crime and deserves to be sentenced according to the state law provisions. The defense team should, provide adequate evidence based on the interviews conducted and for his sake lack of evidence independent of the prosecutors determination.

    In the case of Travis Darrah, he should be sentenced to a five-year imprisonment with a $2500 fine. The reason why this sentence is appropriate is because the offender have committed domestic violence crime on a child that led to injuries. The injuries the child retained required additional medical treatment. The offender should pay the penalty and should be in prison for five years. Any visitation rights to the offender should be denied in fear of possible harm in the future. Child abuse can be viewed as a community problem. One of the largest underlying factors is that there isn’t an agency that possesses the training, manpower, resources, or legal mandate to intervene effectively in child abuse cases. Additionally, there is not one sole agency who is responsible for dealing with abused children. It is important that with any child abuse case that there is an ideal set of events that need to take place. Doctors treat for injuries, therapist counsel, social services work with the family, law enforcement arrest the offender, and attorneys prosecute the case (Cohn, 1987, p. 163-197).

    Over the past decade the response of law enforcement has not been consistent in child abuse cases. Law enforcement need to have a greater understanding of the importance in developing procedures and protocols to work with other professionals to ensure that the needs of children in child abuse cases are met. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was signed into law on January 31, 1974. It recognized that parents have a fundamental liberty, protected by the Constitution, to raise their children as they choose. This requires the appropriate balance of rights, responsibilities, duties, and obligations to protect the child’s safety and well-being. With the passing of CAPTA, if a parent is unable or unwilling to meet their responsibility to the child the State may use its duty and power to act on behalf of the child. As previously discussed one of the weak points in combating child abuse is there’s no single agency capable in their current capacity to undertake sole responsibility of preventing child abuse.

    Federal agency recognizes that combating child abuse is a continuous effort which requires research and coordination within and interdisciplinary program designed to better protect children from child abuse or neglect. With a program in place recognized experts can now identify the nature and scope of child abuse, its causes, prevention methods .Furthermore, assessments can be conducted to help identify techniques and approaches to abuse, treatment, and cultural and socio-economic distinctions with the impacts it has on society. Child abuse is a problem that requires a distinct approach for successful intervention. It isn’t the job of just one agency but is a collective effort of all professionals involved to understand their roles and possess the knowledge that is required by their State statutes, local guidelines, and adequate training to combat the growing rise in child abuse. In the United States there are more than 3 million reports being made about child abuse (Ark of hope for the Children (2017), but identifying signs and symptoms can ultimately prevent or reduce abuse, aid in getting help, and reduce the effects of long-term consequences.

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