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Identifying and Reporting Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation

Identifying and Reporting Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation

Domestic:         Household or family-related

Violence:          Implies use of great force, intense vehemence, or physical force exerted to violate, damage, or abuse people or things

Abuse: Generally carries with it a sense of harm and takes the form of physical, verbal, sexual, psychological, and emotional injury.  It is generally repetitive and escalating

Neglect: Failure to care for or do, to disregard or pay no attention to.  Neglect can be passive (unintentional failure to do care or give attention) or active (intentional failure to fulfill a caretaking obligation to inflict physical or emotional stress or injury)

Child Neglect:  Leaving a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm, without arranging for necessary care for the child, and the demonstration of intent not to return by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator of the child

Exploitation: The illegal or improper act or process of a caretaker, family member, or other individual who has an ongoing relationship with a person using the resources of such person for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain without the informed consent of such person.

  1. The Agency is cognizant of the increasing occurrence of domestic violence, abuse, and neglect in specific population groups in America today. Realizing that victims of alleged or suspected domestic violence, exploitation, abuse, or neglect may be admitted to the service of this Agency, appropriate care cannot be provided by the Agency unless these victims are identified and assessed.
  2. This organization will:
    • Educate its staff to the issues, appropriate identification and assessment of domestic violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
    • Educate its staff to appropriate intervention in response to the identified abuse, neglect, and exploitation findings.
    • Educate its staff to populations at greatest risk for domestic violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
    • Use as the Agency’s guide for reporting and intervention processes, the current law and regulations regarding abuse, neglect, exploitation, and domestic violence issues.
    • Establish and maintain a list of referral sources that includes private and public community agencies that provide for, or arrange for, assessment and care of victims of suspected or alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation and establish a referral network with these and other appropriate resources.
    • Educate staff regarding the referral process with these resources including the referral criteria and implementation of the referral process to the appropriate resources within the network.
    • Educate staff to appropriately document their assessment and care.
    • Establish screening guidelines for identification of this Agency’s “at risk” population and educate the staff to recognize this Agency’s at-risk population.
    • Examples of general population to be considered may include but are not limited to:
      • Infants and children, especially those within the welfare systems
      • Women of all ages
      • Pregnant women, especially pregnant teens
      • Female psychiatric patients/clients
      • People with major mental disorders
      • Severely mentally or physically challenged individuals of all ages
      • Members of drug and/or alcohol-abusing households
      • Generally abusive relationship households
      • Dependent elderly requiring continuous or extensive care by family or other caretakers at home
    • All abusive cases will be monitored and evaluated as part of the overall Agency quality assurance activities.

3. Policies for Reporting all Diagnosed or Suspected Cases of Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation:

    1. Reports of Child Abuse:
      • Any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to child abuse or acts of child abuse shall report the same promptly to the Department of Health at 1-800-800-5556.
      • Such reports, where possible, shall contain the names and addresses of the child and his parent, guardian, or other persons having custody and control of the child, and if known, the child’s age, the nature, and extent of the injuries, abuse or mal-treatment, and any other information that may be helpful concerning the child abuse and the identity of the perpetrator.

4. Reporting Mechanisms:

      1. Mechanism for coordinating and reporting of suspected cases of child abuse and/or neglect:
        • All suspected cases will be referred to the Agency Administrator.
        • The Administrator or his/her designee will determine the appropriateness of referral, collect necessary data, refer the case to the appropriate Child Welfare office, insure follow-up and coordinate both agency’s services.
        • All actions taken by Agency staff will be recorded in the clinical record.

2. Operating Hours

        • The Agency has a 7-day week, 24-hour answering service. Each staff person is given the number for reporting purposes.

5. Protocols for Identification and Referring Suspected Cases of Abuse and/or Neglect:

          1. Staff members have the opportunity to assess the physical/emotional status of children/families. The following observations may indicate is need for referral:
            • Primary detection – beginning symptoms of child neglect, e.g., inadequately fed infant, infant rejection, emotional deprivation, inadequate parenting skills, etc.
            • Secondary detection – definitive symptoms of child abuse, e.g., multiple fractures, circular lesions indicating burns, malnutrition, failure to thrive, welts on the body, severe physical illness and/or handicap affecting either children and/or parents, indications of sexual abuse.
          2. Refer to the following pages for indicators.
          3. Recording and reporting:
            • Factual evidence must be accumulated.
            • Data should be pertinent.
            • Explicit statements about a child’s appearance and family interactions and quoted statements of family members are of value.
            • Discuss referral with family.

4. Education and/or Training:

            • Orientation for new staff includes in-service regarding responsibilities in reporting suspected cases.
            • In-service education is provided to all appropriate staff regarding the identification and reporting of diagnosed and/or suspected cases of child abuse and/or neglect and regarding the above policies and procedures, on at least an annual basis.

5. Staff is sent to programs on abuse/neglect sponsored by other agencies, as appropriate.

6. Board of Directors, through the Administrator, is kept abreast of current problems and trends.

      1. Policies and Procedures for Elder/Disabled Abuse/Neglect
    1. Same as above (for Child Abuse) with the following changes:
          • All suspected cases will be reported to the administration who will determine referral to an appropriate Agency.
          • Refer to the indicators on the following pages.