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Chalula88
12-13-2011, 11:00 PM
If you can answer even just one of my questions I will be so extremely thankful! Rep points for all! :)

Trigger warning - adult situations and abuse involving a child

In my current WIP there is a point where the following events occur involving a young minor:

The child is severely injured and needs medical attention that she does not receive.

Adult Y involves child in illegal activities (prostitution). The child has lived with adult Y since age 3, but adult Y is not her legal guardian (her mother was her guardian, but left her with adult Y and told no one - including the child's father - where she was).

Someone makes an anonymous tip that adult Y is prostituting a child, but both her and the child escape authorities.

Fast forward....

She is raped by adult X

Adult Y sees this occur and immediately murders adult X, then adult Y disappears.

The child wanders away and delusional, she accuses adult Z (who is a cop) of sexually abusing her. This accusation is witnessed by another cop.

The child runs away from the cops and falls unconscious. A stranger calls 911 for medical help.

She is taken to a hospital for medical treatment and must stay inpatient for a period of time. The child is fairly delusional (thinks someone exists that doesn't, among other things).

It does not matter what state this takes place in, any location is fine.

My overall question is: how would the doctors, social workers, police, etc. respond to this situation?

Specifically:

If she is cohesive and coherent, but somewhat delusional/dissociative/disturbed, would this change the way her case is handled?

Is her accusation of sexual abuse enough for them to perform an exam/rape kit on her? Since she was known to be involved in prostitution, would they do an exam/rape kit inherently?

Would they do a rape kit/exam while she was unconscious?

Basically, if she were unconscious for three days, when she woke up would the police have physical evidence of the abuse?

If so, would they still interrogate her or would that be enough for legal action without her making a statement or testifying in court?

Who would be the first person to talk to her when she woke up? A doctor? Social worker? Cop? What would be the initial subject matter they talked about?

Would she be interrogated for the prostitution (they already have eyewitness accounts that adult Y used the child as a prostitute)? If so, would the interrogation be done by a cop, detective, social worker? What type of procedure would this follow? Would they do it while she was still in the hospital?

If they don't know who murdered adult X, but the child's clothes were covered in his blood, would they make the connection between the two situations? If they did, who would interrogate her and how would it be done? Would they interrogate her about this issue before, after, or during interrogating her about the prostitution?

Would she have to testify in court about the prostitution or the murder? Would a statement be enough? If she would need to testify, what would that process be like?


If she has a bio father, who she had never lived with, would the hospital release her directly to him or would she have to go to an intermediary place (foster care, group home, psych ward, etc)?

Would she be allowed to stay with her father during the trial or would she stay somewhere else?


I know this is super long and complicated, but any answers are greatly appreciated!!!!

mirandashell
12-13-2011, 11:03 PM
Which country is your story set in?

Chalula88
12-13-2011, 11:05 PM
Sorry, the U.S., but the state doesn't matter.

mirandashell
12-13-2011, 11:21 PM
No... but the country does! LOL!

thothguard51
12-13-2011, 11:25 PM
As far as I am aware, in all states in the US, doctors, teachers, and care givers have to report any suspected abuse of a child to the authorities/cops. The cops will come and take a report and call social services. If no parent can be located, the child will be put into a foster care home.

In your case, it sounds like the child needs to be put into psych ward and this becomes trickier because the state will pick up the bill so they will try very hard to place the child or find the parent.

There was a case recently, (forget what state), but a child had been in a mental ward for years, abandoned by parent, no foster families would take the child because of emotional and behavior problems, so the state sued the parent to take the child back. Unsure how it ended, but the state is not an open check book and will try to place the child.

ironmikezero
12-14-2011, 12:00 AM
Her age at the time of her hospitalization will be significant - is she still (legally) a juvenile? Has she any identification? The need for positive identification can't be overstated. That would also impact (and tend to corroborate) the identity of her bio father.

From a law enforcement perspective, she would be initially considered a victim, possibly a witness (a diagnosis of an altered state of mind - delusions - would compromise any value as a witness to some degree). At some point, assuming some indicative evidence, she may be considered a suspect.

Investigators would proceed very carefully, and comply with established protocols in dealing with a juvenile. You'll need to research the state in which you place your story - it really will matter.

Generally speaking, police investigators would defer to the doctors in arranging an interview. Everything she says would be subject to further scrutiny - all must be corroborated or refuted. An accusation against a cop (adult Z) would precipitate an internal affairs investigation. That officer would have no further role in the original investigation pending the results of the IA inquiry.

Her involvement in prostitution, notwithstanding the initial coercion factor, would likely expose her to some level of criminal liability, but her potential contribution to the homicide investigation may well mitigate that exposure. That would be up to the prosecutor, of course.

She's going to have a serious credibility problem, especially with observed "delusional/dissociative/disturbed" behavior.

If she's still a juvenile, the court system will follow different procedures (than an adult) that will focus on the welfare of the child. I'm sure some of our members in the legal practice can shed more specific light on this scenario.

Chalula88
12-14-2011, 12:12 AM
Thanks for the help!

Yes, she is a minor throughout the story, so I know she wouldn't be considered a criminal for the prostitution.

If it helps at all, the story is from her perspective, so anything she wouldn't witness (like the internal investigation), I don't really need any details about.

In terms of the adult who put her in prostitution, if that individual is never found, will she be required to make any statements about what happened to law enforcement?

I know this is complicated, but I sincerely appreciate the help!

ironmikezero
12-14-2011, 12:50 AM
Thanks for the help!

In terms of the adult who put her in prostitution, if that individual is never found, will she be required to make any statements about what happened to law enforcement?

I know this is complicated, but I sincerely appreciate the help!


She would certainly be questioned about that adult. At this point she's a witness. It's in her best interest to cooperate as LE builds a case against the adult who victimized her. It matters not if that individual is never found; the case remains open. Were she to refuse to cooperate, her credibility would severely suffer. What else is she hiding?

Chalula88
12-14-2011, 12:54 AM
Thanks again! :)

So do you think she would be questioned at the hospital by police? Or would they wait a week or two until she was placed in a group home/foster care/with her bio dad/etc? Would a social worker also be present for emotional support?

ironmikezero
12-14-2011, 01:05 AM
The investigators would want to question her asap - memory fades rather quickly. The interview would be in the hospital as soon as the doctors would permit.

If her bio father had been found (and vetted), he (or her legal guardian) would be permitted to be present. If she's represented by legal counsel, the attorney would be present. A social worker would not usually be present unless so required by statute or court order. Hospital staff social workers would not likely be permitted by the investigators to participate in the interview process.

Chalula88
12-14-2011, 01:22 AM
Thanks so much!

A couple more questions: Would there be just one cop or several cops that interrogate?

Would there be any sort of psychiatric treatment provided to her in the hospital? What about after she goes to live with her bio father?

ironmikezero
12-14-2011, 01:39 AM
Two investigators would conduct the interview. Two witnesses are then hearing the same thing at the same time. Their written report will subsequently support the interviewee's sworn statement.

Any medical/psychiatric treatment and the attendant circumstances/logistics would be pursuant to recommendations of the medical professionals and most likely with court sanction.

jclarkdawe
12-14-2011, 03:47 AM
Her exact age and her maturity at that age matter a lot. Also, her educational status to reflect her understanding of the world is also important.


If you can answer even just one of my questions I will be so extremely thankful! Rep points for all! :)

Trigger warning - adult situations and abuse involving a child

In my current WIP there is a point where the following events occur involving a young minor:

The child is severely injured and needs medical attention that she does not receive. How old? What evidence exists other then her statement? How long ago? This involves a potential charge of neglect and maybe abuse. Question is whether the statute of limitations has expired.

Adult Y involves child in illegal activities (prostitution). The child has lived with adult Y since age 3, but adult Y is not her legal guardian (her mother was her guardian, but left her with adult Y and told no one - including the child's father - where she was). Subjects mother to charge of abandonment. Adult Y is also got major charges. Big question is when this happened to her. Roughly speaking, at under age 13 the rape charges go way up. If she was 5 when this happened, it would be significantly worse than if she is 15. Adult Y, depending upon her age, if facing some time to you might be leaving in a box sort of time.

Someone makes an anonymous tip that adult Y is prostituting a child, but both her and the child escape authorities. IronMike can correct me if I'm wrong, but my guess is an anonymous tip, combined with them disappearing, would result in at least a BOLO, and possibly an arrest warrant. Significant question here as to other evidence of this. This could trigger an Amber Alert.

Fast forward.... How many years? Are they still in the same state?

She is raped by adult X If she was being prostituted as a minor, she was being raped by every John who used her. Again, age matters here, and the question is whether this is forcible rape or statutory rape.

Adult Y sees this occur and immediately murders adult X, then adult Y disappears. Not going to help Adult Y if he's the same Adult Y in the previous paragraph. Adult Y would have a defense of self-defense if he shot him during the commission of a crime, but we need a lot of details before we could begin to figure this out.

The child wanders away and delusional, she accuses adult Z (who is a cop) of sexually abusing her. This accusation is witnessed by another cop. Delusional is such a fun term. How delusional? Depending upon how delusional she is depends upon how credible her statement is. But as soon as the officer realizes she's delusional, he needs to get her to medical care. He'd probably call an ambulance.

The child runs away from the cops and falls unconscious. Yeah, I suppose this could happen, but I'm inclined to doubt it. She's just been raped, she's just seen a man died, and she's delusional as a result of those events. Yeah, I'm going to doubt she can get organized enough to successfully get away from the cop. He's going to be super cautious here. Further, why does she fall unconscious? What causes that? A stranger calls 911 for medical help.

She is taken to a hospital for medical treatment and must stay inpatient for a period of time. The child is fairly delusional (thinks someone exists that doesn't, among other things). If she's delusional, she would be sent to the psych ward as soon as she is medically stable. Since no parent is immediately available, the hospital would ask for a guardian to be appointed to her. At this point I'm not sure how much of her history is going to be available to anyone. At this point, the psychiatrist and her guardian would start calling the shoots.

It does not matter what state this takes place in, any location is fine. Eh, sort of. This plays out a lot differently in different states.

My overall question is: how would the doctors, social workers, police, etc. respond to this situation?

Specifically:

If she is cohesive and coherent, but somewhat delusional/dissociative/disturbed, would this change the way her case is handled? If she is cohesive on occasion and dissociative at other points (by the way, you realize that delusional, dissociative, and disturbed are separate and distinct things), she's going to probably need to be hospitalized until she is stable enough to be safe. My guess is she would be sent to a long-term psych facility, especially in light of the fact that she has no home. She'd also be suffering from PTSD and probably some substance abuse withdrawal problems.

Is her accusation of sexual abuse enough for them to perform an exam/rape kit on her? Since she was known to be involved in prostitution, would they do an exam/rape kit inherently? I'm not sure what you're expecting the rape kit to show. They'd do a panel for STDs based upon her history. They might do a rape kit if they think they'll recover semen to determine who was the rapist.

Would they do a rape kit/exam while she was unconscious? Parts of it, while other parts would be done while she was conscious. (There are a fair amount of questions she has to answer as part of the exam.)

Basically, if she were unconscious for three days, when she woke up would the police have physical evidence of the abuse? Probably she would show physical signs of abuse/neglect. But I'm still wondering why she's unconscious, and now she's out for three days? You've got some medical condition going on that needs more information before we can figure out how this plays out. Plus the previous case where she disappeared would highlight the need for heavy police involvement.

If so, would they still interrogate her or would that be enough for legal action without her making a statement or testifying in court? I'm not sure what you mean by "legal action" here. Yes, social services for the state and the police would want to talk to her. There are several police investigations involved here.

Who would be the first person to talk to her when she woke up? A doctor? Social worker? Cop? What would be the initial subject matter they talked about? Probably a nurse. Doctor next. Until she is stable and safe, no one else is going to talk to her. Especially if she was delusional before she became unconscious.

Would she be interrogated for the prostitution (they already have eyewitness accounts that adult Y used the child as a prostitute)? If so, would the interrogation be done by a cop, detective, social worker? What type of procedure would this follow? Would they do it while she was still in the hospital? She's going to be in the hospital for a while, then juvenile placement. Interrogation would depend on the state's procedures. It could be social worker and police investigator or by two police investigators.

If they don't know who murdered adult X, but the child's clothes were covered in his blood, would they make the connection between the two situations? How do they know the blood is the same? Despite TV, this is going to take weeks for them to figure this out just from blood samples. If they did, who would interrogate her and how would it be done? Police officers and maybe an attorney general. Would they interrogate her about this issue before, after, or during interrogating her about the prostitution? Before. It's much more important.

Would she have to testify in court about the prostitution or the murder? Yes, but this would be months later. Would a statement be enough? No. If she would need to testify, what would that process be like? Like testifying as a witness. I don't understand what you mean here.


If she has a bio father, who she had never lived with, would the hospital release her directly to him or would she have to go to an intermediary place (foster care, group home, psych ward, etc)? As soon as she is stable and safe, she'd probably be released to her father.

Would she be allowed to stay with her father during the trial or would she stay somewhere else? The trials would be months later.


I know this is super long and complicated, but any answers are greatly appreciated!!!!


Thanks for the help!

Yes, she is a minor throughout the story, so I know she wouldn't be considered a criminal for the prostitution. But this plays out so differently if she is 8 or 16.

If it helps at all, the story is from her perspective, so anything she wouldn't witness (like the internal investigation), I don't really need any details about. You're going to have fun trying to make this all work consistent with all the diagnoses you gave her.

In terms of the adult who put her in prostitution, if that individual is never found, will she be required to make any statements about what happened to law enforcement? She wouldn't be required to, but they'd sure appreciate it.

I know this is complicated, but I sincerely appreciate the help!


She would certainly be questioned about that adult. At this point she's a witness. It's in her best interest to cooperate as LE builds a case against the adult who victimized her. It matters not if that individual is never found; the case remains open. Were she to refuse to cooperate, her credibility would severely suffer. What else is she hiding? Her doctor and guardian/father might refuse, she has some cultural issues of living under the radar and not liking cops to factor in here. And I doubt she's going to have a coherent tale for many years. Usually this comes out in bits and pieces over the years. She's going to be one damaged kid.


Thanks again! :)

So do you think she would be questioned at the hospital by police? Or would they wait a week or two until she was placed in a group home/foster care/with her bio dad/etc? Would a social worker also be present for emotional support? Depends upon what the doctor says.


The investigators would want to question her asap - memory fades rather quickly. The interview would be in the hospital as soon as the doctors would permit. Repeated for emphasis. But considering her history of delusions and three days of being unconscious, she's going to need a full neurological workup, and this is going to take a few days at least.




Thanks so much!

A couple more questions: Would there be just one cop or several cops that interrogate?

Would there be any sort of psychiatric treatment provided to her in the hospital? As soon as she is medically sound, she would be sent to a psych ward. What about after she goes to live with her bio father? Absolutely. She'd need mental health treatment for many years.

You need to do a lot of research here, and there's a limit to how much this forum is going to help you. I'm not even sure you know the difference between delusional/dissociative/disturbed and how they spring from different causes and have different treatments. Then you haven't even factored in the PTSD and the probable drug habit. Then you have to factor in the fact she's been living underground for years.

Starting point for you might beElizabeth Smart kidnapping, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Smart_kidnapping)Cases of children kept in captivity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Children_kept_in_captivity), and Jaycee Lee Dugard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaycee_Lee_Dugard).

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Chalula88
12-14-2011, 05:08 AM
Thank you so much! I really appreciate you working through all this info. I'll be as specific as possible.

When I say the state doesn't matter, I don't mean to suggest that procedures are the same in every state, I mean I am willing to set it anywhere someone knows about.

Also, this is not the plot of my entire novel, it's actually a very small part of it about half way through. I just want it to be accurate or at least feasible.

I actually do have a very substantial understanding of the difference between dissociation, delusions, and being disturbed. Her situation is sort of a mix of all three from various factors (the traumas, the fever, living underground, etc), the progression and differences are very clear in the novel. I was trying to keep that simple for the sake of getting the legal/social services questions answered without bogging down the post in details about the plot, so yeah, I was pretty vague about what's going on and I understand how that could come across as ignorant.

The drug use, PTSD, living underground, etc. is all addressed in the novel. I have read hundreds of articles on the subject and have worked as a volunteer with survivors of severe child abuse. I've also extensively studied dissociative disorders (and I've interviewed people with these disorders for an unrelated project), so I truly have an exceptionally in depth understanding of what I'm writing about (with the exception of the legal system stuff, ha ha).

So anyway...


The child in question is ten.

The injury she is not treated for, is actually a severe infection (I don't think it matters for my questions, which is why I didn't include these details). The flash forward is not years, just a week or two, sorry for not being clearer about that. She passes out due to a high fever/shock from the infection plus the stress of the situation. She is kept effectively unconscious after waking up hysterical and unable to be subdued.

IronMike can correct me if I'm wrong, but my guess is an anonymous tip, combined with them disappearing, would result in at least a BOLO, and possibly an arrest warrant. Significant question here as to other evidence of this. This could trigger an Amber Alert.

The police only know that there is a child, but they have never seen her. When they go to search their apartment, they are both already gone (but they're not gone together, though the police don't know that).

If she was being prostituted as a minor, she was being raped by every John who used her. Again, age matters here, and the question is whether this is forcible rape or statutory rape.

Forcible rape and yes, I know every john would count as a rape, I only mention this rape specifically because it may result in evidence if they do a rape kit: she would have the blood and semen of the same individual on her body. So I mention it because: Would the same DNA even be noticed? Would they test for that? There is no way to connect her to the murder, so personally, I'm doubting there would be any connection made between the two situations. It really doesn't matter to the plot either way.

Yeah, I suppose this could happen, but I'm inclined to doubt it. She's just been raped, she's just seen a man died, and she's delusional as a result of those events. Yeah, I'm going to doubt she can get organized enough to successfully get away from the cop.

The cops are on the streets, not in the police station, and she is quite used to the streets, which makes it a lot easier for her to get away. There is also an element of shock for the cops. Also the cop really was a john (though her accusation was delusional) so there was a shock/fear response in him rather than jumping to action.

She is delusional in the sense that she has a sort of imaginary friend that she thinks is real and talks as if someone else is there that really isn't. She also thinks the cop is the father of her imaginary friend, thus her accusation is very muddled and bizarre.

If she's delusional, she would be sent to the psych ward as soon as she is medically stable. Since no parent is immediately available, the hospital would ask for a guardian to be appointed to her. At this point I'm not sure how much of her history is going to be available to anyone. At this point, the psychiatrist and her guardian would start calling the shoots.

By guardian, do you mean like a social worker appointed to act as guardian?

I'm not sure what you're expecting the rape kit to show.

I don't really care what it shows (it won't have any real impact on the plot), I just want to know for accuracy reasons if they would do one.

You've got some medical condition going on that needs more information before we can figure out how this plays out. Plus the previous case where she disappeared would highlight the need for heavy police involvement.

If the police never saw her with the adult that was prostituting her and don't yet know that that is her, at what point would the police be involved? Not until she's conscious? or would they be involved as soon as the child is admitted?

How do they know the blood is the same? Despite TV, this is going to take weeks for them to figure this out just from blood samples.

I know it's not an instant process, my question is: would they try to figure out whose blood it was at all or would they disregard it? Would they wait until she's conscious and ask her about it or would they send it to a lab immediately?

You're going to have fun trying to make this all work consistent with all the diagnoses you gave her.

I don't really know what you mean by this. But anyway, this is the only portion of the novel that isn't written, I skipped it when doing the first draft to give myself time to research.

She wouldn't be required to, but they'd sure appreciate it.

How hard would they try? If she wouldn't cooperate, didn't want to talk, or couldn't provide anything useful, would they keep trying to get her to talk about it or would they just give up?

Absolutely. She'd need mental health treatment for many years.

Sorry, what I meant was not does she need the treatment (that's pretty obvious) what I mean is, would the treatment be provided by or mandated by the state? If she were released to her father, would they require that he get her some sort of psychiatric care or would it be at his discretion?

jclarkdawe
12-14-2011, 06:49 AM
Thank you so much! I really appreciate you working through all this info. I'll be as specific as possible.

When I say the state doesn't matter, I don't mean to suggest that procedures are the same in every state, I mean I am willing to set it anywhere someone knows about. This will play differently in Iowa than New York or Texas or California.

Also, this is not the plot of my entire novel, it's actually a very small part of it about half way through. I just want it to be accurate or at least feasible.

I actually do have a very substantial understanding of the difference between dissociation, delusions, and being disturbed. Her situation is sort of a mix of all three from various factors (the traumas, the fever, living underground, etc), the progression and differences are very clear in the novel. I was trying to keep that simple for the sake of getting the legal/social services questions answered without bogging down the post in details about the plot, so yeah, I was pretty vague about what's going on and I understand how that could come across as ignorant. Okay, I'll believe you.

The drug use, PTSD, living underground, etc. is all addressed in the novel. I have read hundreds of articles on the subject and have worked as a volunteer with survivors of severe child abuse. I've also extensively studied dissociative disorders (and I've interviewed people with these disorders for an unrelated project), so I truly have an exceptionally in depth understanding of what I'm writing about (with the exception of the legal system stuff, ha ha).

So anyway...


The child in question is ten. This is going to elevate it a lot.

The injury she is not treated for, is actually a severe infection (I don't think it matters for my questions, which is why I didn't include these details). I assume you mean an infection from an injury. An infection is not an injury. The flash forward is not years, just a week or two, sorry for not being clearer about that. Which means that the original injury may or may not be in evidence. That fact, combined with the fact it's turned septic, is sufficient, without anything else, to warrant a neglect charge and places her in state custody. In a situation like this, you start with the easiest charge to gain custody and protection of the child. As soon as she is seen by any trained medical personal, a neglect petition will be started and granted inside of a few hours. Judge is going to rely on the statement of the doctor, so there's no evidence problem. She passes out due to a high fever/shock from the infection plus the stress of the situation. Which is probably why she's delusion, and would be what is explored medically first. She is kept effectively unconscious after waking up hysterical and unable to be subdued. Okay, I'll buy this.

IronMike can correct me if I'm wrong, but my guess is an anonymous tip, combined with them disappearing, would result in at least a BOLO, and possibly an arrest warrant. Significant question here as to other evidence of this. This could trigger an Amber Alert.

The police only know that there is a child, but they have never seen her. When they go to search their apartment, they are both already gone (but they're not gone together, though the police don't know that). But there are neighbors and other people who would have seen them. Further, he would have left some prints behind. With a child this young, I'd think the police would flip and go for the massive approach.

If she was being prostituted as a minor, she was being raped by every John who used her. Again, age matters here, and the question is whether this is forcible rape or statutory rape.

Forcible rape and yes, I know every john would count as a rape, I only mention this rape specifically because it may result in evidence if they do a rape kit: she would have the blood and semen of the same individual on her body. So I mention it because: Would the same DNA even be noticed? Yes. Would they test for that? Yes. There is no way to connect her to the murder, so personally, I'm doubting there would be any connection made between the two situations. It really doesn't matter to the plot either way. It's going to take a while before they get the tests done, and maybe even then the connection might not be made.

Yeah, I suppose this could happen, but I'm inclined to doubt it. She's just been raped, she's just seen a man died, and she's delusional as a result of those events. Yeah, I'm going to doubt she can get organized enough to successfully get away from the cop.

The cops are on the streets, not in the police station, and she is quite used to the streets, which makes it a lot easier for her to get away. But she has an untreated injury with an infection. And I'd already factored into this the fact the cop was on the street. There is also an element of shock for the cops. A cop would expect a street kid to run. That's what they do. Also the cop really was a john (though her accusation was delusional) so there was a shock/fear response in him rather than jumping to action. I'm sure there are pedophiles as cops, but it's real unusual.

She is delusional in the sense that she has a sort of imaginary friend that she thinks is real and talks as if someone else is there that really isn't. She also thinks the cop is the father of her imaginary friend, thus her accusation is very muddled and bizarre. That's definitely not dissociative or disturbed. I'm not sure how seriously I'd view this delusion, if this is the limit of her delusion. It's also a delusion you can live with safely, within limits. If she's otherwise oriented times three, it would not be enough to get an adult committed.

If she's delusional, she would be sent to the psych ward as soon as she is medically stable. Since no parent is immediately available, the hospital would ask for a guardian to be appointed to her. At this point I'm not sure how much of her history is going to be available to anyone. At this point, the psychiatrist and her guardian would start calling the shoots.

By guardian, do you mean like a social worker appointed to act as guardian? No, this is a guardian appointed by the court. Depending upon the state, it may be an attorney. The guardian would be responsible for making the decisions a reasonable parent would make, and making sure that the needs of the child are met. It would not be a social worker, but would make sure that the social worker does his or her job.

I'm not sure what you're expecting the rape kit to show.

I don't really care what it shows (it won't have any real impact on the plot), I just want to know for accuracy reasons if they would do one. Probably not a complete kit. But they would collect fluids, take pictures, and that sort of stuff.

You've got some medical condition going on that needs more information before we can figure out how this plays out. Plus the previous case where she disappeared would highlight the need for heavy police involvement.

If the police never saw her with the adult that was prostituting her and don't yet know that that is her, at what point would the police be involved? As soon as she is found septic and injured. At that point, there is at minimum a case for neglect against someone. And the police are also required to protect people. Not until she's conscious? No adult, ten, and injured. They would be involved immediately. or would they be involved as soon as the child is admitted? As soon as admitted.

How do they know the blood is the same? Despite TV, this is going to take weeks for them to figure this out just from blood samples.

I know it's not an instant process, my question is: would they try to figure out whose blood it was at all or would they disregard it? They'd try to figure it out, but whether they'd do a DNA search is iffy. You can swing this either way depending upon what your plot needs and it would be plausible. Would they wait until she's conscious and ask her about it or would they send it to a lab immediately? It would be bagged as part of the evidence in the neglect case and given to the police immediately. Where the police would go from there depends upon what the police are finding out.

You're going to have fun trying to make this all work consistent with all the diagnoses you gave her.

I don't really know what you mean by this. But anyway, this is the only portion of the novel that isn't written, I skipped it when doing the first draft to give myself time to research. Dissociative and delusional and disturbed aren't going to be in too many patients all at once. Septic and running away from the cops is pushing it. However, the delusion you're describing here would actually be consistent with the situation.

She wouldn't be required to, but they'd sure appreciate it.

How hard would they try? If she wouldn't cooperate, didn't want to talk, or couldn't provide anything useful, would they keep trying to get her to talk about it or would they just give up? They'd try pretty hard, and keep trying to talk to her. This is a case that's going to piss off many cops, and cops that are pissed off against somebody (the criminal in this case), they tend to want them in jail.

Absolutely. She'd need mental health treatment for many years.

Sorry, what I meant was not does she need the treatment (that's pretty obvious) what I mean is, would the treatment be provided by or mandated by the state? Not once she was in her father's custody, unless he's eligible for Medicaid. If she were released to her father, would they require that he get her some sort of psychiatric care or would it be at his discretion? To some extent, it would depend upon whether the neglect case remains open, but I can't imagine the father not wanting to treat his daughter. He's going to get some serious pressure even if it isn't legally required.


Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

EmpoweredOKC
12-15-2011, 11:43 AM
As it happens, I worked as a therapist on an adolescent inpatient treatment program, and specialized in child sexual abuses/sexual assault cases...

A few tidbits: a rape exam cannot be done on a person who is unconscious, because it would be considered assault as well. Likewise, an intoxicated person cannot be examined until sober. Rape kits (which are performed by nurses known as SANE - Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners - or SAFE - Sexual Assault Forensic Experts) must have the patient's consent (patients can also decline any portion of the exam), and in the case of a minor, that consent must come from the legal guardian (or the state, where no parent is available). In the case of severe injury, however, a doctor can order emergency treatment, although this is only for recovery, not for forensic evidence collection.

SANE exams are usually done in the presence of a victim's advocate from the local rape crisis program, although in the case of children the advocate usually comes from the local child abuse program instead--there is a distinction in services between children and adults.

A SANE exam can be done three days following an assault, yes. The components of a SANE exam include the forensic swabs, sampling of hair by the roots, and something called a colposcope exam (a high-def medical camera capable of detecting microscopic trauma). Most SANE exams take about 3 hours. DNA can be retrieved up to four days after a rape, colposcope evidence can be taken within a week.

Lenny Jennison
02-04-2012, 06:24 AM
i will help as much as i can, not sure if you still need these answers though.


If you can answer even just one of my questions I will be so extremely thankful! Rep points for all! :)

Trigger warning - adult situations and abuse involving a child

In my current WIP there is a point where the following events occur involving a young minor:

The child is severely injured and needs medical attention that she does not receive.

ok this first part, if the guardian doesn't have any documentation of this role, she will be forced to pay for the treatment on her own. that is if she seeks any treatment at all.

Adult Y involves child in illegal activities (prostitution). The child has lived with adult Y since age 3, but adult Y is not her legal guardian (her mother was her guardian, but left her with adult Y and told no one - including the child's father - where she was).

Someone makes an anonymous tip that adult Y is prostituting a child, but both her and the child escape authorities.

Fast forward....

She is raped by adult X

Adult Y sees this occur and immediately murders adult X, then adult Y disappears.

The child wanders away and delusional, she accuses adult Z (who is a cop) of sexually abusing her. This accusation is witnessed by another cop.

Does the second cop know this is a lie? that is important.

The child runs away from the cops and falls unconscious. A stranger calls 911 for medical help.

She is taken to a hospital for medical treatment and must stay inpatient for a period of time. The child is fairly delusional (thinks someone exists that doesn't, among other things).

It does not matter what state this takes place in, any location is fine.

My overall question is: how would the doctors, social workers, police, etc. respond to this situation?

Specifically:

If she is cohesive and coherent, but somewhat delusional/dissociative/disturbed, would this change the way her case is handled?

There would be no change in the handling of this child. First she would have a DNA swab performed to check for any residual DNA left behind. The cop in question would be relived from duty as the case was investigated. The social worker would sit with the young lady and try to help her figure out what happened to her. If this was outside the workers expertise, she would call in a grief counselor and maybe a trauma expert. Usually someone who had experience with a woman of this age and relative experience.

Is her accusation of sexual abuse enough for them to perform an exam/rape kit on her? Since she was known to be involved in prostitution, would they do an exam/rape kit inherently?

regardless of what acts she was known to perform, she would still be treated as a victim if she stated she was. Being a prostitute doesn't mean she couldn't have been raped by someone (i know you already know this, just clarifying).

Would they do a rape kit/exam while she was unconscious?

typically not, they have to have consent from her to do so. The only way around this is if they feel there is a reason to do so without her consent.


Basically, if she were unconscious for three days, when she woke up would the police have physical evidence of the abuse?

as long as the "area" was not cleaned, there could be trace amounts of dna



If so, would they still interrogate her or would that be enough for legal action without her making a statement or testifying in court?

a victim is NEVER interrogated. she is the victim. they will take all the time she needs in order for her to convey what she wants to tell them.

Who would be the first person to talk to her when she woke up? A doctor? Social worker? Cop? What would be the initial subject matter they talked about?

the initial person would be whoever was by her side. normally this would be a case worker who was assigned to her case. this person (usually in this type of a case would be another woman) would inform the girl that she was ok. She was safe now. Then when the worker felt that the girl was able to talk about the situation, she would ask if the victim feels up to talking about the incident. If the girl does, the case worker will go slowly and write down all details of the crime. The case worker will file a report. a copy of this report could be sent to the cops if the victim chooses.

Would she be interrogated for the prostitution (they already have eyewitness accounts that adult Y used the child as a prostitute)?

no. that is a separate issue. her victimization is what is the focus on any information that is gathered at this point.


If so, would the interrogation be done by a cop, detective, social worker?

What type of procedure would this follow? Would they do it while she was still in the hospital?

If they don't know who murdered adult X, but the child's clothes were covered in his blood, would they make the connection between the two situations? If they did, who would interrogate her and how would it be done? Would they interrogate her about this issue before, after, or during interrogating her about the prostitution?

The sample of blood found on the clothes would be tested for dna. the first assumption would not be that of murder. It would be that she had done something to defend herself in which blood was a result. Even if they thought she had killed the person, self defense would be normally the first thing suggested. In this one case, she could get off for the murder if there were no witnesses. she could claim that she had no idea what happened after the man started raping her. No jury would convict a woman of murder, if she was defending herself.

Would she have to testify in court about the prostitution or the murder? Would a statement be enough? If she would need to testify, what would that process be like?


If she has a bio father, who she had never lived with, would the hospital release her directly to him or would she have to go to an intermediary place (foster care, group home, psych ward, etc)?

the first placement would be one to allow her to recover. If there was a reason that her father could and wanted to take her, he would be given the first chance. the other thing the case worker would be looking at is, why now, or all times, is he interested in helping her. If he just found out where she was and this was a first, there would be little to no second thoughts on placing her with him. The choice ultimately would be given by the girl of course. the case worker would not place her in his hands without her ok, because she may know something the case worker does not.

Would she be allowed to stay with her father during the trial or would she stay somewhere else?

this depends on the case.if she wants to stay with him, she would be allowed to as long as there is not a reason she shouldn't.

I know this is super long and complicated, but any answers are greatly appreciated!!!!

ArtsyAmy
02-08-2012, 04:05 PM
Sounds like you have an interesting story!

This is coming from the perspective of a former state social worker--worked first in child protective, then child mental health. If the child came into the hospital with no known adult, then I think the hospital would have contacted state children's services (the agency might be called Child Protective Services or Family Services--different names in different states). A social worker from that agency would file an emergency custody petition (so the state would have temporary custody of the child--the hospital couldn't have a minor patient with no custodian).

Regarding what would be done in the hospital, I don't have expertise in this, but I would think that the first person to see the child when she awoke would probably be a nurse, who would then call a doctor, who would then order a psychiatric evaluation from a psychiatrist who works at the hospital. The state social worker would be alerted to these goings on, and the results of the psych. eval. would be used in the state agency's planning.

I think it would be extremely unusual for the child you described to leave the hospital, and then go straight to live with her parent whom she hasn't seen for a long time. (I'm not sure if you wrote that she'd ever met him.) There are two issues here: her mental health and the father's ability to parent this child. Regarding her mental health, the psych. eval. may indicate that after she's stabilized in the hospital, she'll need to "step down" from hospitalization to another treatment option. This might be a residential treatment home (which would be a group home where young people live, might go to school there at the facility or go to the local school, and receive treatment--but she might be too young for this). Or it might be a treatment foster home (more likely for her age), which is a foster home in which the foster parents have special training to deal with psychological needs, and this would be accompanied by attendance at an out-patient day program (go to school there and receive treatment) or out-patient therapy sessions (maybe two a week, then drop down to one a week). Regarding living with the father: He'd have rights as a natural parent, but I think the social services agency would likely hold off on giving up custody until they've checked him out. (Why did he not know where his daughter was, that she'd been abadoned by the mother and was being used as a prostitute, etc. Had he filed a missing person's report? Had he been searching for her, or had he abandoned her, too? These are things the agency, and a judge, would want to know before he got custody.) If it's determined that the child should go to live with her dad, the agency might request a transitional time so that the child can become acquainted with her father before going to live with him full-time (that is, if she doen't already know him well), which might consist of supervised visits where the child resides after leaving the hospital, or in the agency's building.

Hope that was useful. (This is my first post at this site. Hooray!) Pardon me if I mentioned some things that you already know. Hope all goes well with your story!