Protect the weak and vulnerable, and do not show favoritism toward those who would misuse them: That long has been a basic tenet of American justice, and it has been strengthened with more liberal interpretations of such guidelines as the 14th Amendment (the "Equal Protection" doctrine).
In child abuse cases, the legal and medical professions both say that they primarily are interested in keeping the family unit together, if at all possible. Furthermore, sympathy, or at least professional understanding, routinely is offered to the parents whose misdeeds with respect to their children are considered to be the result of their own unhappinesses, immaturities and, often, abuse suffered at the hands of their own parents (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 222:1605-1612, 1972).
Thus, psychiatric screening and treatment are offered to the parents. Yet seldom are the victimized children offered psychological screening, let alone treatment, authorities in state after state have told JAMA MEDICAL