Understanding the Medical Assessment

When Does A Child Need A Medical Exam?

The medical team, often in consultation with the investigators, will review the circumstances related to the suspected abuse. If there are potentially injuries that may be observed with a physical examination or there are other health concerns related to the abuse then a recommendation will be made for an exam.

The medical exam can be an important part of the investigation process, providing valuable information about what has happened to the child, but is not always necessary. The results of the exam can be used by the police and children’s services in their investigations.

For Professionals

Physicians, Calgary City Police, RCMP and Children’s Services may refer children directly for a medical assessment. Physicians can find referral criteria information in Alberta Referral Directory and enter “Child Abuse Calgary” as your search term.

To Refer Directly Call: (403) 428 5301 or Fax: (403) 428 5307

What Do Kids and Families Wonder About?

Children often have questions about what will happen when they come for the medical evaluation. Going to see the doctor at the CCAC is like going to have a regular check up with your family doctor. The child will have a complete exam including all the parts of the body. When talking to a child it is important to address health and safety. It is also important to talk about the fact that the professionals in this area see many children, and that the child is not alone in this experience.

Many parents or caregivers wonder about when they should tell their child about the upcoming exam. This will vary for different children, but the exam should never come as a complete surprise. Children who are very verbal need some time to ask questions and have any concerns addressed prior to the appointment.

How Long Is The Exam?

The length of the medical exam will be different depending on each situation. In general you should plan for a visit that lasts at least two hours.

Who Is Present At The Exam?

In general, the child will meet:

  • a doctor (pediatrician) and possibly a pediatrician in training (resident)
  • a nurse and possibly a support person
  • The CCAC Child Life Specialist can also support the child during the medical exam if the child would like this and there is no other support available.

Role of the Child Life Specialist

The CCAC Child Life Specialist can help prepare a child for the exam. The Specialist’s role is to explain to children and their families what the process will look like and to go over any questions or concerns. This is done in a child friendly way and takes place the same day as the exam.

Our Processes