Knowing What to Expect Before Your Child’s Visit May Help Alleviate Anxiety
During your visit to the Mayerson Center, your child may be interviewed by a social worker or a physician about suspected child abuse. This interview may be video recorded. Your child may also be examined by a physician during the visit. Each examiner will have an individualized approach, which may include:
- Introductory dialog with you and your child
- Questions about your child’s medical history and the alleged abuse
- A brief physical examination
- External inspection of the genital and anal areas
- Adolescent girls may need an internal vaginal examination
- Young children do not have an internal examination
- Photographs or video recordings will be obtained
- Collection of specimens for infection testing
After the examination you will have time to meet with the doctor to discuss the examination findings and to answer any of your questions. We will also provide you with crisis intervention and support along with counseling referrals should that be needed. Help regarding the Crime Victims Assistance program is also offered.
Staff members at the Mayerson Center are mandated reporters of child abuse and will make a report to the police and/or protective services when indicated.
When Should the Mayerson Center Visit Be Scheduled?
The medical exam should be conducted according to the following criteria:
- The child should be seen as soon as possible if the abuse occurred within the past 72 hours. The likelihood of recovering forensic material decreases with passing time. The child should not bathe or change clothing prior to the examination.
- The child is in pain, is bleeding, or is having other serious physical symptoms.
- The child is suicidal or threatening to harm himself or herself.
- The child was assaulted or abused within the last 72 hours by a perpetrator with HIV or hepatitis.
Evaluation Within a Few Days
- The child is having less serious symptoms such as discharge, pain with urination, or itching.
- The child or family is unwilling to wait because of anxiety, stress or other reasons.
- The child could be pregnant as a result of the abuse.
Evaluation Within a Few Weeks
- Exclusion of the above indications.
Parents or others who suspect a child has been abused should immediately contact their child’s physician or the local child protection agency. In Hamilton County, Ohio, the child protection 24-hour hotline is 513-241-KIDS.
An appointment for children who disclose sexual abuse in Greater Cincinnati can be arranged by calling the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Cincinnati Children’s at 513-636-7233. More urgent or emergency calls should be made to your child’s physician or to the child protection agency hotline.