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Arizona amends order of steps in child abuse investigations

Published: Thursday, June 29, 2023 - 5:04pm
Updated: Friday, June 30, 2023 - 7:18am
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A bill signed by Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs last month aims to correct the order of steps authorities take when investigating child abuse allegations.

The amendment to existing law was sponsored by a first-year GOP lawmaker Rep. Barbara Parker representing northeast Mesa and part of Apache Junction.

When the state takes temporary custody of a child due to an acute case of suspected abuse, they have to be immediately seen by a doctor. Prosecutors aren’t even supposed to ask a kid when they were hurt. 

“It’s intuitive that they needed to talk to the child. But strictly read by the law, they really didn’t have that authority,” Parker said.

County attorneys urged Parker to back legislation requiring that a trained professional first do a forensic interview with potential child abuse victims.

“Made it possible that we put humanity back. Let’s talk to people. Let’s talk to children,” she said.

And House Bill 2516 says doctor exams may still happen post-interview.