Effective Child Abuse Investigation for the Multi-Disciplinary Team: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Effective Child Abuse Investigation for the Multi-Disciplinary Team

1st Edition

By Bradley Richard Graham

CRC Press

128 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Child abuse cases are unique in that they involve seldomly witnessed acts. A nonverbal victim and a silent perpetrator will often lead to a stalling of the investigation and the judicial process. Effective Child Abuse Investigation for the Multi-Disciplinary Team is a practical guide for law enforcement officers and child protection workers in abuse investigations. It demonstrates how all members of the team can best work together to consolidate the medical, social, and legal facts in each case, increasing the chances for successful prosecution and enhancing child safety.

Presenting the insight of an investigator with more than two decades of experience, this book guides investigators in the best practices of abuse investigations through a better understanding of the dynamics of abuse, the mechanisms of injury, and the efficient use of professional expertise.

Topics include:

  • Forming an investigative plan
  • Differentiating between accidental and abusive injury
  • Triggers for abuse most often cited by perpetrators
  • Common defenses, including religious or constitutional justification for punishment
  • Legal and social factors associated with taking a child into protective custody
  • Preparing for civil and criminal trial

Additional topics include the danger of investigative bias, female sex offenders, child development, and basic medical terminology associated with abusivehead trauma. Appendices include questions to be asked in all cases, a pediatric investigation checklist for first responders, and an investigative timeline checklist.

Suitable for any law enforcement training environment, the book demonstrates how working together with the collective knowledge of all members of the team can ensure maltreated children are protected and abusers held accountable for their actions.

Table of Contents


Investigative Plan

Allegation and Disclosure

Suspect Information

Child Forensic Interview

Medical Evaluation

Multi-disciplinary Response

The Nonoffending Parent as a Witness

Other Witnesses

Crime Scene

Accelerated Timeline for Suspect Contact

Accidental versus Nonaccidental Trauma


Sentinel Bruising


Fall Injuries and Abusive Head Trauma


Abusive Head Trauma

Timeline of AHT/SBS

Triggers for Abuse



Economic Stressors

Common Defenses

Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Fractures from Birth

Violent Coughing

Corporal Punishment

Religion and Child Abuse

Protective Custody

Probable Cause

Imminent Danger

Multiple Siblings

Administrative Issues

Investigative Bias

Female Sex Offenders

Media Bias

Investigative and Judicial Bias

Older Victims

Investigative Considerations

Multi-disciplinary Teams

Best Practices

Child Advocacy Centers

Case Review

Outside Agency Investigations

Information Sharing

Trial Testimony

Investigative Process

Professional Background



Child Development

Sexual Development

Sexual Play

Physical Development




Medical Terms

Plausible versus Actual


Appendix A: Question Sets

Medical Questions

Caretaker Questions

Appendix B: Pediatric Abuse Investigation Checklist

for First Responders

Appendix C: Investigative Timeline Checklist


About the Author

Bradley Grahamis a detective assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division at the Tacoma Police Department. He has investigated child and physical abuse cases almost exclusively for the past 17 years. He has been a member of the training faculty of a number of state-wide training teams focusing on family violence and child abuse and has been invited to present on the topic of child abuse issues and case studies at both state and national conferences, including the Washington State Criminal Justice Conference (Seattle). Bradley has a master’s of science degree in law and justice from Central Washington University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Security / General
LAW / Forensic Science