In cases of alleged physical child abuse, it is vital to determine the exact nature of the injury the child has suffered to begin assessing if it was caused accidentally or deliberately (non-accidental). One of the most important tools used by those responsible for reporting and assessing children’s injuries is a body map. This allows the person to record the nature and location of an injury in a visual way to help establish possible patterns in, or causes of, the injuries. These body maps are often used in legal proceedings and can prove a vital in cases of someone falsely accused of child abuse.
What is a Non-Accidental Injury Body Map?
A non-accidental injury body map is essentially an outline diagram of a typical child’s body, also featuring enlarged outlines of the head, feet and hands to allow an observer to mark exactly where the injuries have occurred. It also includes an area to note information about the specific child being examined and any observations about them or their injuries. Staff in charge of safeguarding children will use the information they gather on the body map to help make decisions about whether the child is in immediate danger, if the injuries require medical attention or if further action is required.
How is a Body Map used?
Body maps can play a pivotal role in establishing whether an injury is accidental or non-accidental. It is therefore vital to record as much relevant information as possible. As well as drawing the injury, the person should also include a detailed description of even the smallest mark observable on the child’s body. They should record the colour, shape, location, size and condition of any marks, as well as if they seem to be improving or deteriorating, how the child feels about the injuries and anything they or their parents/carers say about them. They should also include information on who first reported the injury and when and how they noticed it.
Accurately recording the location of injuries is important because there are common locations for accidental injuries and others which are more likely to be caused non-accidentally. The most common areas for accidental injuries are:
- Back of the head
Areas where non-accidental injuries are more frequent are:
- Inner and upper arms
Why is a Body Map useful in false allegation cases?
The Body Map’s role in determining whether injuries to a child were likely to be caused by abuse or an accident, make them extremely useful in defending against false allegations, where an adult has been wrongly accused of deliberately causing harm to a child. Anyone who has been subjected to a false allegation of this nature should seek legal help and advice immediately. As Edward Hayes have an excellent track record in defeating false allegation claims, they can provide expert legal representation in these cases.
If you have been falsely accused of abusing a child in the south east and need immediate advice call 0800 085 9684. If you are in another part of the country, call 0845 602 3043. Alternatively, you can email email@example.com for more information.