Forensic Medical Exam

All children seen at the Jefferson CAC will be referred to the Audrey Hepburn Children aRisk Evaluation (CARE) Center for a pediatric forensic medical evaluation. A division of Children’s Hospital New Orleans, co-located within the New Orleans CAC, the CARE Center employs specially trained pediatricians and medical personnel that possess expertise in working with children and teens when allegations or concerns of child abuse or maltreatment are present.

While not mandatory and never forced, the purpose of the forensic medical evaluation is to, first and foremost, ensure your child’s health and well-being. In addition, medical examinations allow reassurance for both you and your child, provide an avenue for the collection of forensic evidence, identify other potential medical conditions, assess for possible pregnancy and/or STD’s and offer an opportunity for additional disclosure.

The medical exam will take place in a child friendly room and include a medical history from the caregiver and child. Your child will receive a thorough head to toe exam, similar to a normal check-up at a Pediatrician’s office, along with an external inspection of the genitalia and anal area to make sure there are no abnormalities. Please note that this medical exam is different and less invasive than an adult pelvic examination.

In addition to the medical provider, the child may choose to have a caregiver or supportive adult present in the exam room for reassurance and support, while other children may prefer to be alone. It is important that, whenever possible, the child’s request be respected.

Not necessarily. Regardless of when the abuse may have occurred, it is very normal for medical exams to have no findings, as there are sexual acts that may leave no lasting signs or injury. Hence the phrase, “it’s normal to be normal.”