DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

   <<< Return to OPP Table of Contents
Handbook 3:  Assessment Guides
3-1 Allegation Guide I: Physical and Sexual Maltreatment
Assessment Guides
3-1 Allegation Guide I: Physical and Sexual Maltreatment
Reference Points
Bruise/ Welt
Cut/Bite/Puncture Mark
Burn/Scald
Sprain/Dislocation
Fracture
Internal Injury
Skull Fracture/Brain Damage/Subdural Hermatoma
Asphyxiation/Suffocation/Drowning
Excessive Corporal Punishment/Bating
Other Physical Harm
Sexual Assault
Sexual Exploitation
Sexual Harm-Other Child
Other Sexual Harm


Reference Points
Effective Date: 03/01/06
Last Updated: 12/30/05


Physical Maltreatment: Bruises/ Welt  

Bruise/Welt

  • Description 
    • Bruise: An injury resulting in bleeding within the skin where skin is discolored but not broken.
    • Welt: An elevation on the skin produced by a lash, blow, or allergic stimulus.
  •  
  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    Verification that such injuries currently exist or have existed in the past may come from a physician, registered nurse, law enforcement officer, CSW, statement(s) of witness(es) or the child or by direct admission from alleged perpetrator.

    One way to determine the approximate age of a bruise is by color. The following lists bruises by the colors associated with the approximate ages:
Age
Color
Initial injury
Red
Approx. 06-12 hrs.
Blue
Approx. 12-24 hrs.
Black-Purple
Within 04-06 days
green tint, dark
Within 05-10 days
pale green to yellow(sometimes with brown tint)

Care must be taken to distinguish birthmarks like the "Mongolian spot" from bruises, which they may resemble. "Mongolian spots" are present at birth and generally last to age 2-3 years. They are grayish-blue and commonly located on the buttocks and back. Incidence varies by racial group. The following percentages of babies have "Mongolian spots": African-American - 95%; Asian/Native American - 80%; Hispanic - 70%; and Caucasian - 10%.


  • Factors to Consider
    • Child's age (children age 6 years and younger are at much greater risk of harm).
    • Child's medical condition; behavioral, mental and emotional problems; developmental disability; or, physical handicap, particularly as they relate to child's capacity for self-protection.
    • Child's cultural background (folk medicine practices, e.g., coining, cupping, etc.).
    • Pattern or chronicity of similar incidents (do injuries regularly appear after a weekend, vacation or other child absence?).
    • Severity (size, number, extent of discoloration) of injuries.
    • Location of injuries (injuries to the face, lips, mouth, torso, back, buttocks, and/or thighs are suspicious; the closer to the center of the body, the more likely that the injury is non-accidental).
    • Shape/pattern of injuries (do they form clusters or other regular patterns, or reflect the shape of an object, e.g., cord, belt buckle, hand, etc., used to inflict an injury?).
    • Previous history of indicated or confirmed abuse or neglect.
    • Is child wary of adult contacts, apprehensive when other children cry, exhibiting behavioral extremes or low self-esteem, frightened of the caregiver, afraid to go home, and/or reporting abuse by the caregiver?
    • Did this harm/injury/maltreatment occur as the result of an action or lack of action which 1) meets CDSS' definitions of abuse, neglect or exploitation and 2) is directly attributable to the child's parent or legal guardian?
    • Did the parent or legal guardian 1) personally commit the harmful act, 2) condone or permit a harmful act by other persons in circumstances in which it would be reasonably possible to prevent the harm, or 3) force, allow or coerce the child to commit harmful acts?
     
  • Most Likely Classifications
    Is/was this bruise/welt:
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian inflicting a non-accidental injury? - Abuse(Physical)
    • the result of the victimization by a parent/legal guardian of a child by sexual activities? - Abuse(Sexual)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian forcing or coercing a child into performing functions which are beyond child's capabilities or capacities? - Exploitation
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Physical Maltreatment:  Cut/Bite/Puncture  

Cut/Bite/Puncture

  • Description
    • Cut: An opening, incision, or break in the skin made by some external agent, e.g., a knife or razor.
    • Bite: A wound, bruise, cut or indentation in the skin caused by seizing, piercing or cutting the skin with teeth.
    • Puncture: An opening in the skin which is relatively narrow as compared to depth, as produced by a narrow pointed object.
     
  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    Verification that cut and puncture injuries currently exist or have existed in the past may come from a physician, registered nurse, law enforcement officer, CSW, statement(s) of witness(es) or the child or by direct admission from alleged perpetrator.

    Verification that bite injuries currently exist or have existed in the past may come from a trained dental examiner, physician, registered nurse, law enforcement officer, an expert in animal bites, observation by CSW, statement(s) of witness(es), statement of child or by direct admission from alleged perpetrator.
  • Factors to Consider
    • Child's age (children age 6 years and younger are at much greater risk of harm).
    • Child's medical condition; behavioral, mental and emotional problems; developmental disability; or, physical handicap, particularly as they relate to child's capacity for self-protection.
    • Pattern or chronicity of similar incidents.
    • Severity (size, number, depth) and location of injuries.
    • Whether an implement was used.
    • Previous history of indicated or confirmed abuse or neglect.
    • Is child wary of adult contacts, apprehensive when other children cry, exhibiting behavioral extremes or low self-esteem, frightened of the caregiver, afraid to go home, and/or reporting abuse by the caregiver?
    • Did this harm/injury/maltreatment occur as the result of an action or lack of action which

      1) meets CDSS' definitions of abuse, neglect or exploitation and

      2) is directly attributable to the child's parent or legal guardian?

    • Did the parent or legal guardian:

      1) personally commit the harmful act

      2) condone or permit a harmful act by other persons in circumstances in which it would be reasonably possible to prevent the harm, or

      3) force, allow or coerce the child to commit harmful acts

    • All bite marks should be suspected as the byproduct of abuse or neglect. A human bite mark may be seen in conjunction with a suck mark, caused by the skin being pulled into the mouth by pressure, or a thrust mark, caused by a tongue pushing against skin trapped between the teeth. Human bite marks are egg-shaped. Bite marks from animals such as dogs, cats, and rodents, which are the ones most commonly seen by social workers, have a narrower arch shape, leave deeper and narrower marks and tend to have a ripping rather than crushing effect. The following shall be considered when determining if an injury which resulted in a cut, bite or puncture constitutes maltreatment.
     
  • Most Likely Classifications
    Is/was this cut/bite/puncture:
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian inflicting a non-accidental injury? - Abuse(Physical)
    • the result of the victimization by a parent/legal guardian of a child by sexual activities? - Abuse(Sexual)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian forcing or coercing a child into performing functions which are beyond child's capabilities or capacities? - Exploitation
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Physical Maltreatment:  Burn/Scald  

Burn/Scald

  • Description 
    • Burn: Tissue injury resulting from excessive exposure to thermal, chemical, electrical or radioactive agents. Effects vary according to type, duration and intensity of the agent and body part involved. Burns are usually classified as:
        • 1st Degree: Pink or red in appearance, blanches with pressure, painful when touched. Usually not life-threatening
        • 2nd Degree: Appears red, blistered or moist with oozing body fluid, and painful to pinprick or touch.
        • 3rd Degree: Destruction of outer and underlying layers of skin, and may include subcutaneous fat, muscle or bone. The body surface appears dry, charred or pearly white.
    • Scald: A burn to the skin or flesh caused by moist heat (e.g., hot liquids) or hot vapors (e.g., steam).
     
  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    To verify this allegation, CSW must determine that child currently has an injury(ies) of this type or has sustained this type of injury(ies) in the past. Verification may come from a physician, registered nurse, law enforcement officer, CSW, statement(s) of witness(es) or the child or by direct admission from alleged perpetrator.
  • Factors to Consider
    • Child's age (children age 6 years and younger are at much greater risk of harm).
    • Child's medical condition; behavioral, mental and emotional problems; developmental disability; or, physical handicap, particularly as they relate to child's capacity for self-protection.
    • Pattern or chronicity of similar incidents.
    • Severity, location and number of injuries in this incident.
    • Previous history of indicated or confirmed abuse or neglect.
    • Is child wary of adult contacts, apprehensive when other children cry, exhibiting behavioral extremes or low self-esteem, frightened of the caregiver, afraid to go home, and/or reporting abuse by the caregiver?
    • Did this harm/injury/maltreatment occur as the result of an action or lack of action which:

      1) meets CDSS' definitions of abuse, neglect or exploitation and

      2) is directly attributable to the child's parent or legal guardian?

    • Did the parent or legal guardian

      1) personally commit the harmful act,

      2) condone or permit a harmful act by other persons in circumstances in which it would be reasonably possible to prevent the harm, or

      3) force, allow or coerce the child to commit harmful acts?


    Serious burns (i.e., 2nd or 3rd degree), burns of an unknown origin or burns in which the injury is not consistent with the explanation provided should be examined by a physician or registered nurse. This includes cigar or cigarette burns (particularly on the soles, palms, back or buttocks), burns in which it appears a hot implement was applied to the skin, immersion burns which indicate dunking in hot liquid (e.g., "stocking" burns on hands, arms, feet or legs and "doughnut" burns on the buttocks or genitalia) and rope burns which indicate confinement. Impetigo (any of certain contagious skin diseases characterized by the eruption of pustules), which sometimes looks like burn injuries, should be ruled out by a physician.

 
  • Most Likely Classifications
    Is/was this burn/scald:
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian inflicting a non-accidental injury? - Abuse(Physical)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian forcing or coercing a child into performing functions which are beyond child's capabilities or capacities? - Exploitation
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Physical Maltreatment:  Sprain/Dislocation  

Sprain/ Dislocation

  • Description
    • Sprain: Trauma to a joint which causes pain and disability, depending on the degree of injury of the ligaments. In a severe sprain, ligaments may be completely torn. Signs of sprain are rapid swelling, heat and disability, often with discoloration and limitation of function.
    • Dislocation: The displacement of any part, especially the temporary displacement of a bone from its normal position in a joint, e.g., ball-and-socket joints in the hip and shoulder. If unassociated with torn capsule or bone fracture, may be corrected by manipulation; otherwise, surgical repair is required. Types of dislocations include:
    • Closed: Simple dislocation.
    • Complete: Surfaces of joint completely separated.
    • Complicated: Associated with other major injuries.
    • Compound: Joint exposed to external air.
     
  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    Verification that such injuries currently exist must come from a physician, e.g., a radiologist. Verification that the child has had these types of injuries in the past may come from a physician, registered nurse, law enforcement officer, CSW, statement(s) of witness(es) or the child or by direct admission from alleged perpetrator.
  • Factors to Consider
    See Factors to Consider under Burn/Scald.
  • Most Likely Classifications
    Is/was this sprain/dislocation:
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian inflicting a non-accidental injury? - Abuse(Physical)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian forcing or coercing a child into performing functions which are beyond child's capabilities or capacities? – Exploitation
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Physical Maltreatment:  Fracture  

Fracture

  • Description
    A broken bone. There are ten types of fractures, the most common being:
    • Simple: No external wound.
    • Compound: External wound leading down to site of fracture or fragments of bone protrude through skin.
    • Complicated: Fractured bone has injured an internal organ, e.g., fractured ribs piercing a lung. Significant soft tissue injury.
    • Comminuted: Bone is broken or splintered into pieces.
    • Spiral: Twisting causes the line of the fracture to encircle the bone shaft in the form of a spiral.
     
  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    Verification that such injuries currently exist must come from a physician, e.g., a radiologist. Verification that the child has had these types of injuries in the past may come from a physician, registered nurse, law enforcement officer, CSW, statement(s) of witness(es) or the child or by direct admission from alleged perpetrator.
  • Factors to Consider
    • Child's age (children age 6 years and younger are at much greater risk of harm).
    • Child's medical condition; behavioral, mental and emotional problems; developmental disability; or, physical handicap, particularly as they relate to child's capacity for self-protection.
    • Pattern or chronicity of similar incidents.
    • Severity, location and number of injuries in this incident (unexplained fractures to skull, nose and facial structure are suspicious, as are multiple and/or spiral fractures).
    • Whether an implement was used.
    • Previous history of indicated or confirmed abuse or neglect (are there fractures in various stages of healing?).
    • Is child wary of adult contacts, apprehensive when other children cry, exhibiting behavioral extremes or low self-esteem, frightened of the caregiver, afraid to go home, and/or reporting abuse by the caregiver?
    • Did this harm/injury/maltreatment occur as the result of an action or lack of action which

      1) meets CDSS' definitions of abuse, neglect or exploitation and

      2) is directly attributable to the child's parent or legal guardian?

    • Did the parent or legal guardian

      1) personally commit the harmful act,

      2) condone or permit a harmful act by other persons in circumstances in which it would be reasonably possible to prevent the harm, or

      3) force, allow or coerce the child to commit harmful acts?

    • Skeletal injuries which may indicate abuse include:
      • Corner fractures of long bones/metaphyseal: Splintering at the end of the bone.
      • Spiral fractures: See description, above.
      • Epiphyseal separation: A separation of the growth center at the end of the bone from the rest of the shaft and a detachment of the surface layer of the bone/membrane connective tissue (periosternum) from the shaft of the bone with associated bleeding. Caused by twisting or pulling.
  • Most Likely Classifications
    Is/was this fracture:
      • the result of a parent/legal guardian inflicting a non accidental injury? - Abuse(Physical)
      • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
      • the result of a parent/legal guardian forcing or coercing a child into performing functions which are beyond child's capabilities or capacities? - Exploitation
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Physical Maltreatment:  Internal Injury  

Internal Injury

  • Description

An injury not visible from the outside; an injury to the organs occupying the thoracic, abdominal, or cranial cavities. May be the result of a direct blow.


  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    Verification of current internal injuries must come from a physician, but may sometimes be detected by the CSW. Tenderness or swelling of the skin or vomiting may be indicators. Child may be pale, cold, perspiring freely, have an anxious expression, seem semi-comatose. Pain is usually intense at first; may continue or gradually diminish over time.

    Verification that the child has had internal injuries in the past may come from a physician, registered nurse, law enforcement officer, CSW, statement(s) of witness(es) or the child or by direct admission from alleged perpetrator.
  • Factors to Consider
    • Child's age (children age 6 years and younger are at much greater risk of harm).
    • Child's medical condition; behavioral, mental and emotional problems; developmental disability; or, physical handicap, particularly as they relate to child's capacity for self-protection.
    • Pattern or chronicity of similar incidents.
    • Severity, location and number of injuries in this incident.
    • Whether an implement was used.
    • Previous history of indicated or confirmed abuse or neglect.
    • Is child wary of adult contacts, apprehensive when other children cry, exhibiting behavioral extremes or low self-esteem, frightened of the caregiver, afraid to go home, and/or reporting abuse by the caregiver?
    • Did this harm/injury/maltreatment occur as the result of an action or lack of action which

      1) meets CDSS' definitions of abuse, neglect or exploitation and

      2) is directly attributable to the child's parent or legal guardian?

    • Did the parent or legal guardian

      1) personally commit the harmful act,

      2) condone or permit a harmful act by other persons in circumstances in which it would be reasonably possible to prevent the harm, or

      3) force, allow or coerce the child to commit harmful acts?

  • Most Likely Classifications
    Is/was this internal injury:
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian inflicting a non accidental injury? - Abuse(Physical)
    • the result of the victimization by a parent/legal guardian of a child by sexual activities? - Abuse(Sexual)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian forcing or coercing a child into performing functions which are beyond child's capabilities or capacities? - Exploitation
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Physical Maltreatment:  Skull Fracture  

Skull Fracture/ Brain Damage/ Subdural Hematoma

  • Description
    • Skull Fracture: A broken bone in the skull
    • Brain Damage: Injury to the large soft mass of nerve tissue contained within the cranium/skull.
    • Subdural Hematoma: A collection of blood beneath the outermost membrane covering the brain and spinal cord.
    •  
  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    Verification that such injuries currently exist must come from a physician, e.g., a neurosurgeon, or a radiologist. Verification that the child has had these types of injuries in the past may come from a physician, registered nurse, law enforcement officer, CSW, statement(s) of witness(es) or the child or by direct admission from alleged perpetrator.


  • Factors to Consider
    • Child's age (children age 6 years and younger are at much greater risk of harm).
    • Child's medical condition; behavioral, mental and emotional problems; developmental disability; or, physical handicap, particularly as they relate to child's capacity for self-protection.
    • Pattern or chronicity of similar incidents.
    • Severity, location and number of injuries in this incident.
    • Whether an implement was used.
    • Previous history of indicated or confirmed abuse or neglect.
    • Is child wary of adult contacts, apprehensive when other children cry, exhibiting behavioral extremes or low self-esteem, frightened of the caregiver, afraid to go home, and/or reporting abuse by the caregiver?
    • Did this harm/injury/maltreatment occur as the result of an action or lack of action which

      1) meets CDSS' definitions of abuse, neglect or exploitation and

      2) is directly attributable to the child's parent or legal guardian?

    • Did the parent or legal guardian

      1) personally commit the harmful act,

      2) condone or permit a harmful act by other persons in circumstances in which it would be reasonably possible to prevent the harm, or

      3) force, allow or coerce the child to commit harmful acts?


Violent pulling of the child's hair may cause bleeding under the skin, swelling of the scalp, and simultaneous hair loss resulting in bald spots or patches.

Subdural hematomas can result from a fall, a direct blow to the head, or violent shaking, e.g., in Shaken Baby Syndrome. Presence of swelling and bruises to the scalp, bleeding of the eye, vomiting, seizures or coma or other loss of consciousness are possible indicators. Fingertip encirclement bruises around the torso or bilateral bruises over the center of the shoulder bones and collar bones and the absence of a skull fracture with the above-listed symptoms may indicate that the child was violently shaken. May result in mental or physical damage or death.

Brain damage may result from direct assault, poisoning or suffocation.

     
  • Most Likely Classifications

    Is/was this skull fracture/brain damage/subdural hematoma:

    • the result of a parent/legal guardian inflicting a non-accidental injury? - Abuse(Physical)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian forcing or coercing a child into performing functions which are beyond child's capabilities or capacities? - Exploitation.
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Physical Maltreatment:  Asphyxiation/ Suffocation/ Drowning  

Asphyxiation/Suffocation/Drowning

  • Description  
    • Asphyxiation: Unconsciousness or death caused by lack of adequate oxygen; the cutting off of air to the lungs, preventing breathing.
    • Suffocation: Lack of oxygen; inability to breathe; to die from being unable to breathe.
    • Drowning: Suffocation by immersion, especially by water filling the lungs, cutting off the air supply and preventing breathing.


  • Factors to Consider
    • Child's age (children age 6 years and younger are at much greater risk of harm).
    • Child's medical condition; behavioral, mental and emotional problems; developmental disability; or, physical handicap, particularly as they relate to child's capacity for self-protection.
    • Pattern or chronicity of similar incidents.
    • Severity, location and number of injuries in this incident.
    • Whether an implement was used.
    • Previous history of indicated or confirmed abuse or neglect.
    • Is child wary of adult contacts, apprehensive when other children cry, exhibiting behavioral extremes or low self-esteem, frightened of the caregiver, afraid to go home, and/or reporting abuse by the caregiver?
    • Did this harm/injury/maltreatment occur as the result of an action or lack of action which:

      1) meets CDSS' definitions of abuse, neglect or exploitation and

      2) is directly attributable to the child's parent or legal guardian?

    • Did the parent or legal guardian:

      1) personally commit the harmful act,

      2) condone or permit a harmful act by other persons in circumstances in which it would be reasonably possible to prevent the harm, or

      3) force, allow or coerce the child to commit harmful acts?

  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    Verification of death due to asphyxiation, suffocation or drowning must be made by a physician or medical examiner.


  • Most Likely Classifications
    Was this asphyxiation/suffocation/drowning:
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian inflicting a non-accidental injury? - Abuse(Physical)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian forcing or coercing a child into performing functions which are beyond child's capabilities or capacities? - Exploitation
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Physical Maltreatment:  Excessive Corporal Punishment/Beating  

Excessive Corporal Punishment/Beating

  • Description
    • Excessive Corporal Punishment: Discipline which involves physical means and results in injury to the child.
    • Beating: Actions in which a child is hit or struck either as discipline or not and which result in injury to the child.


  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    Verification that the child is currently suffering or has in the past suffered this form of maltreatment may come from a physician, registered nurse, law enforcement officer, CSW, statement(s) of witness(es) or the child or by direct admission from alleged perpetrator.

    Factors to Consider
    • Child's age (children age 6 years and younger are at much greater risk of harm).
    • Child's medical condition; behavioral, mental and emotional problems; developmental disability; or, physical handicap, particularly as they relate to child's capacity for self-protection.
    • Pattern or chronicity of similar incidents.
    • Severity, location and number of injuries in this incident.
    • Whether an implement was used.
    • Previous history of indicated or confirmed abuse or neglect.
    • Is child wary of adult contacts, apprehensive when other children cry, exhibiting behavioral extremes or low self-esteem, frightened of the caregiver, afraid to go home, and/or reporting abuse by the caregiver?
    • Did this harm/injury/maltreatment occur as the result of an action or lack of action which 1) meets CDSS' definitions of abuse, neglect or exploitation and 2) is directly attributable to the child's parent or legal guardian?
    • Did the parent or legal guardian:

      1) personally commit the harmful act,

      2) condone or permit a harmful act by other persons in circumstances in which it would be reasonably possible to prevent the harm, or

      3) force, allow or coerce the child to commit harmful acts?

    • To constitute maltreatment, the following factors should be present:
      • The intensity of the parent's reaction does not correspond to the seriousness of the child's behavior.
      • The discipline administered is inappropriate or not in the child's best interest based on the child's age or level of functioning.
      • It is apparent that the parent did not control his/her reaction by stopping the punishment.
      • The child's condition must be directly attributable to either physical abuse or neglect by the parent.
      • In addition to the preceding, one of the following must also be present: bodily injury or undue emotional stress on the child.
     

Most Likely Classifications

Is/was this excessive corporal punishment/beating:

  • the result of a parent/legal guardian inflicting a non-accidental injury? - Abuse(Physical)
  • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Physical Maltreatment:  Other Physical Harm  

Other Physical Harm

  • Description
    Any other physical mistreatment of a child not covered by the preceding descriptions which results in disfigurement or loss or impairment of a bodily function. These include, but are not limited to:
    • Damage to eyes/vision.
    • Damage to ears/hearing.
    • Injury to teeth.
    • Gunshot wound.
       
  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    To verify this allegation, CSW must determine that child currently has an injury(ies) of this type or has sustained this type of injury(ies) in the past. Verification may come from a physician, registered nurse, law enforcement officer, CSW, statement(s) of witness(es) or the child or by direct admission from alleged perpetrator.


  • Factors to Consider
    • Child's age (children age 6 years and younger are at much greater risk of harm).
    • Child's medical condition; behavioral, mental and emotional problems; developmental disability; or, physical handicap, particularly as they relate to child's capacity for self-protection.
    • Pattern or chronicity of similar incidents.
    • Severity, location and number of injuries in this incident.
    • Whether an implement was used.
    • Previous history of indicated or confirmed abuse or neglect.
    • Is child wary of adult contacts, apprehensive when other children cry, exhibiting behavioral extremes or low self-esteem, frightened of the caregiver, afraid to go home, and/or reporting abuse by the caregiver?
    • Did this harm/injury/maltreatment occur as the result of an action or lack of action which 1) meets CDSS' definitions of abuse, neglect or exploitation and 2) is directly attributable to the child's parent or legal guardian?
    • Did the parent or legal guardian 1) personally commit the harmful act, 2) condone or permit a harmful act by other persons in circumstances in which it would be reasonably possible to prevent the harm, or 3) force, allow or coerce the child to commit harmful acts?
  • Most Likely Classifications
    Is/was this physical harm:
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian inflicting a non accidental injury? - Abuse(Physical)
    • the result of the victimization by a parent/legal guardian of a child by sexual activities? - Abuse(Sexual)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian forcing or coercing a child into performing functions which are beyond child's capabilities or capacities? - Exploitation
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Sexual Assault  

Sexual Assault

  • Description

Sexual assault, as defined by Penal Code Section 11165.1(a) and (b)(1)-(5) means conduct in violation of one or more of the following Penal Code sections:

  • 261 rape
  • 264.1 rape in concert
  • 285 incest
  • 286 sodomy
  • 288(a) or (b) lewd or lascivious acts upon a child under 14 years of age
  • 288a oral copulation
  • 289 penetration of a genital or anal opening by a foreign object
  • 647a child molestation
 

Conduct described as "sexual assault" includes, but is not limited to:

  • Any penetration, however slight, of the vagina or anal opening of one person by the penis of another person, whether or not there is the emission of semen;
  • Any sexual contact between the genitals or anal opening of one person and the mouth or tongue of another person;
  • Any intrusion by one person into the genitals or anal opening of another person, except that, it does not include acts performed for a valid medical purpose;
  • The intentional touching of the genitals or intimate parts (including the breasts, genital area, groin, inner thighs and buttocks) or the clothing covering them, of a child, or of the perpetrator by a child, for purposes of sexual arousal or gratification, except that, it does not include acts which may reasonably be construed to be normal caretaker responsibilities; interaction with, or demonstrations of affection for, the child; or acts performed for a valid medical purpose; and,
  • The intentional masturbation of the perpetrator's genitals in the presence of a child.


Any sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 18 years who is not the wife of the perpetrator is unlawful sexual intercourse.

Incest is sexual intercourse between persons within the degrees of consanguinity (i.e., descent from the same ancestor) within which marriages are declared by law to be incestuous and void, such as with a parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece. If the degree of consanguinity is such that marriage between the two person is not illegal, sexual relations between them are not incest.


  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    Verification of sexual assault may come from any or all of the following, depending on the conduct alleged: evidence from a physical examination by a physician; a medical, psychiatric or psychological opinion; statements of law enforcement officer, CSW, witness(es) or the child; or, direct admission of alleged perpetrator.

  • Factors to Consider
    • Child's age (children age 6 years and younger are at much greater risk of harm).
    • Child's medical condition; behavioral, mental and emotional problems; developmental disability; or, physical handicap, particularly as they relate to child's capacity for self-protection.
    • Pattern or chronicity of similar incidents.
    • Severity, location and number of injuries in this incident.
    • Whether an implement was used.
    • Previous history of indicated or confirmed abuse or neglect.
    • Does the child have: difficulty walking or sitting; torn, stained, or bloody underclothing; pain or itching in genital area; bruises or bleeding in external genitalia, vaginal or anal areas; a sexually-transmitted disease, especially in pre-teens; or, sophisticated or unusual sexual knowledge?
    • Is the child: pregnant; unwilling to participate in gym class or to change clothes in front of others; exhibiting sleep disturbances or bizarre, sophisticated or unusual sexual behavior; abusing substances; masturbating excessively; running away, prostituting or engaging in other delinquent behavior; making vague somatic complaints; engaging in withdrawn, fantasy or infantile behavior; experiencing poor peer relationships; or, reporting sexual assault by caregiver?
    • Did this harm/injury/maltreatment occur as the result of an action or lack of action which:

      1) meets CDSS' definitions of abuse, neglect or exploitation and

      2) is directly attributable to the child's parent or legal guardian?

    • Did the parent or legal guardian:

      1) personally commit the harmful act,

      2) condone or permit a harmful act by other persons in circumstances in which it would be reasonably possible to prevent the harm, or

      3) force, allow or coerce the child to commit harmful acts?

      A person can commit sexual assault without touching the child by making sexually explicit or suggestive remarks, encouraging, forcing or permitting the child to touch the genitals or intimate parts of the perpetrator's body or the clothing covering those areas for the purposes of the perpetrator's sexual arousal or gratification.

      A person may touch a child without committing sexual assault. Examples include physicians conducting valid medical procedures, parents or other caregivers performing normal child care functions (e.g., cleaning a child who is not able to do so alone, helping a child to dress, etc.), and persons who are conducting non-sexual interactions with a child (e.g., holding the child's hand to cross a street, touching a child's shoulder to get the child's attention, etc.) or demonstrating non-sexual affection for a child (e.g., kissing or hugging not intended for sexual arousal or gratification).

 
  • Most Likely Classifications
    Is/was this sexual assault:
    • the result of the victimization by a parent/legal guardian of a child by sexual activities? - Abuse(Sexual)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Sexual Exploitation  

Sexual Exploitation

  • Description

Sexual exploitation, as defined by Penal Code Section 11165.1(c), refers to any of the following:

    • Conduct involving matter depicting a minor engaged in obscene acts in violation of Section 311.2 (preparing, selling or distributing obscene matter) or subdivision (a) of Section 311.4 (employment of a minor to perform obscene acts);
    • Any person who knowingly promotes, aids, or assists, employs, uses, persuades, induces or coerces a child, or any person responsible for a child's welfare, who knowingly permits or encourages a child to engage in, or assist others to engage in, prostitution or a live performance involving obscene sexual conduct, or to either pose or model alone or with others for purposes of preparing a film, photograph, negative, slide, drawing, painting or other pictorial depiction, involving obscene conduct. For the purpose of this section, "person responsible for a child's welfare" means a parent, guardian, foster parent or a licensed administrator or employee of a public or private residential home, residential school or other residential institution; and,
    • Any person who depicts a child in, or who knowingly develops, duplicates, prints or exchanges any film, photograph, video tape, negative or slide in which a child is engaged in an act of obscene sexual conduct, except for those activities by law enforcement and prosecution agencies and other persons described in subdivisions (c) and (e) of Section 311.3.


  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    Verification of sexual exploitation may come from any or all of the following, depending on the conduct alleged: evidence from a physical examination by a physician; a medical, psychiatric or psychological opinion; statements of law enforcement officer, CSW, witness(es) or the child; or, direct admission of alleged perpetrator.


  • Factors to Consider
    • Child's age (children age 6 years and younger are at much greater risk of harm).
    • Child's medical condition; behavioral, mental and emotional problems; developmental disability; or, physical handicap, particularly as they relate to child's capacity for self-protection.
    • Pattern or chronicity of similar incidents.
    • Severity, location and number of injuries in this incident.
    • Whether an implement was used.
    • Previous history of indicated or confirmed abuse or neglect.
    • Does the child have: difficulty walking or sitting; torn, stained, or bloody underclothing; pain or itching in genital area; bruises or bleeding in external genitalia, vaginal or anal areas; a sexually-transmitted disease, especially in pre-teens; or, sophisticated or unusual sexual knowledge?
    • Is the child: pregnant; unwilling to participate in gym class or to change clothes in front of others; exhibiting sleep disturbances or bizarre, sophisticated or unusual sexual behavior; abusing substances; masturbating excessively; running away, prostituting or engaging in other delinquent behavior; have vague somatic complaints; engaging in withdrawn, fantasy or infantile behavior; experiencing poor peer relationships; or, reporting sexual exploitation by caregiver?
    • Did this harm/injury/maltreatment occur as the result of an action or lack of action which:

      1) meets CDSS' definitions of abuse, neglect or exploitation and

      2) is directly attributable to the child's parent or legal guardian?

    • Did the parent or legal guardian:

      1) personally commit the harmful act,

      2) condone or permit a harmful act by other persons in circumstances in which it would be reasonably possible to prevent the harm, or

      3) force, allow or coerce the child to commit harmful acts?

         
  • Most Likely Classifications
    Is/was this sexual exploitation:
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian engaging in the activities listed in B-21, Description, above? - Exploitation(Sexual)
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Sexual Harm- Other Child  

Sexual Harm- Other Child

  • Description
    Situations in which confirmed past sexual assault, exploitation, or other forms of sexual maltreatment of one child provides reason to believe that another child is at risk. Such situations may occur when a man with a history of confirmed child sexual maltreatment establishes a relationship with a woman who has minor children, or when a child is born into a family with a history of confirmed child sexual maltreatment.


  • Guidelines
    Some indicators, taken separately, are not necessarily symptomatic of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They must be examined within the context of other characteristics of the family to determine whether or not the child is at risk.

    Verification of sexual assault, exploitation or other sexual harm/maltreatment may come from any or all of the following, depending on the conduct alleged: evidence from a physical examination by a physician; a medical, psychiatric or psychological opinion; statements of law enforcement officer, CSW, witness(es) or the child; or, direct admission of alleged perpetrator.


  • Factors to Consider
    See Factors to Consider under Sexual Assault and Sexual Exploitation.


  • Most Likely Classifications
    Was this sexual harm to another child:
    • the result of the victimization by a parent/legal guardian of a child by sexual activities?
    • Abuse(Sexual)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian negligently or willfully causing or permitting the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his/her person or health is endangered through the failure to provide adequate supervision where physical injury has occurred? - Neglect(Severe)
    • the result of a parent/legal guardian engaging in the activities listed under Sexual Exploitation, Description, above?
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Other Sexual Harm  

Other Sexual Harm

  • Description
    Any other sexual maltreatment not covered by the preceding descriptions.


  • Guidelines
    See Guidelines in Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, and Sexual Harm - Other.
  • Factors to Consider
    See Factors to Consider Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, and Sexual Harm - Other.


  • Most Likely Classifications
    See Most Likely Classifications Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, and Sexual Harm - Other.
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page