My last post on APA’s position on child abuse provided a list of APA goals, policies, and recommendations to be followed given the magnitude of the harm inflicted on children when abused and neglected. More information is shown below.
While judicial action is frequently used to protect the victim and other children and to re-empower the traumatized victim, judicial action in all cases should not further abuse and victimize the child.
While policies and procedures of courts and child protective agencies provide useful guidelines, the uniqueness of each child and family must be respected. An individualized assessment of each child’s needs and individualized prescriptions for treatment and for delivery of supportive and therapeutic services must be designed and implemented to meet the particular needs of each child and each child’s family. Treating psychiatrists and agencies receiving reports of child maltreatment must closely coordinate their work. This close coordination, with the permission of families in treatment, should include feedback to the treating psychiatrist regarding investigations as well as the ongoing collaboration between psychiatrists and child protective services and law enforcement agencies. This collaboration will assure the safety of children and minimize family disruption and the disruption of treatment for victims and their families.
Furthermore, APA recommended the following:
- Reporting laws and protective services: APA supports the efforts of public policy makers to protect children through the enactment of child abuse reporting laws and the development of civil child protective services and specialized child abuse and vice units in the criminal justice system. Such legislation must include provisions for funding adequate individualized and comprehensive psychiatric assessment and treatment for the victimized child and for the child’s family, including foster care when needed.
- Training: At a minimum, the curriculum for training regarding child abuse and neglect would facilitate greater awareness of all forms of domestic violence and their frequent coexistence within the same family; delineate the physician’s role and responsibility in prevention, detection, reporting, treatment, and consultation to and collaborate with social service, judicial, and police agencies; and stress the individual and family dynamics of domestic violence in the teaching of diagnosis and intervention techniques for child victims, abusive and neglectful adults, and other members of these families.