Following the death of Karly Sheehan in 2005, the Oregon Legislature voted 59-0 to pass HB3328, known as Karly's Law. Karly Sheehan was a 3 year old Corvallis girl who was murdered by her mother's boyfriend in June of 2005 following previous unsubstantiated allegations of child abuse. She was one of 18 children to die as a result of child abuse in Oregon in 2005.
Karly's Law requires that a child receive medical attention within 48 hours if that child is found to have suspicious physical injuries in the course of a child abuse investigation. In addition, investigators are required to photograph suspicious injuries and ensure that those photos are seen by a physician and others involved in the child's case. The law standardizes protocols and improves the communication process used by Oregon's multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) to enable them to
respond to suspected cases of child abuse more quickly, and to respond with medical professionals specially-trained in assessing child abuse related injuries. In short, the law seeks to improve the system that provides safety and protection for children.
Columbia Gorge Children's Advocacy Center
The Columbia Gorge Children's Advocacy Center was founded in 2009 by a group of dedicated community members. Their vision was to create an environment where child victims of abuse could disclose abuse to law enforcement and child protective workers in privacy and safety and receive services in a child-friendly location.
The Center reduces the trauma of abuse, and provides coordinated support services for child abuse victims to begin their healing process. Prior to our opening in 2009, children were interviewed at the police station or at the child welfare office, sometimes more than once. If a medical exam was necessary, it had to be done in the emergency room or the child had to be taken to the nearest child abuse center in Portland or LaGrande. This situation and these methods caused additional trauma to the child.
The Columbia Gorge Children's Advocacy Center is part of the Oregon Network of Child Abuse Intervention Centers.
For more information on Child Abuse Centers in the United States: www.nationalchildrensalliance.org
For more information on Child Abuse Centers in Oregon: www.childabuseintervention.org