When Might You Be Questioned by the Police If You Are at the Hospital with an Injured Child?
Interviewer: In a case where this situation happens and the child and adult go directly to the hospital, at what point would you say the police officers will come in and start trying to interrogate the suspect?
Paul Cramm: Within minutes of their arrival. As soon as the emergency room staff identifies one or more suggested indicators of trauma or abuse, they will immediately call law enforcement. In the cases I’ve had, law enforcement was on-scene, questioning the caregiver before the initial trip to the emergency room is even concluded. They were at the hospital trying to gather statements.
That’s really difficult, because the care provider is torn. On the one hand, they do want to provide all relevant information to the medical staff to get adequate care for the child. At the same time, it’s difficult to be subject to a wide open, unbounded interview by law enforcement. Their statements are simply is going to be used against them in the, likely to be filed, criminal case.
When a Child Is Injured, It Is Common for the Parent to Feel Guilt, Even When the Injury Cannot Be Attributed to Their Actions
Interviewer: If I was put in the situation, I’m going to be worried about the life of a child, not being interrogated by a police officer. There’s no telling what information I’m going to be providing and what sort of attitude I’m going to have at that time. Do you find that some people have the sense of guilt sometimes, even if they know they haven’t done anything wrong?
Paul Cramm: Absolutely. Even if someone does not think that they did anything wrong, you’re talking about people who are absolutely devoted to their children. They’re just in a sense of terrible panic and fear as to the extent or seriousness of the child’s physical or medical condition.
They just feel terrible grief over the condition regardless of the cause of the condition. These people are already in a compromised emotional state when law enforcement arrives to begin building a case against them.
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