Oregon Department of Justice

Karly's Law

Since 2008 Karly’s Law has helped thousands of Oregon children receive medical evaluation and care related to suspected abuse. Named after a 3 year old Corvallis girl who died from abuse after allegations went unchecked, Karly’s Law mandates that children in Oregon who exhibit suspicious physical injuries in the course of a child abuse investigation must receive medical attention within 48 hours.

Karly’s Law imposes specific statutory requirements on law enforcement, Department of Human Services (DHS) employees, and designated medical providers who have received specialized training to assess injuries that may have been caused by child physical abuse. These requirements concern the handling of cases involving suspicious physical injury.

To promote a basic understanding of Karly’s Law and it’s requirements, The Oregon Network of Child Abuse Intervention Centers and the Oregon Department of Justice created a training video, “What You Need to Know about Karly’s Law,” for Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) members in Oregon and anyone at any MDT member agency who is involved in child abuse investigations. This video is made possible by funding from the Children’s Justice Act Task Force Subcommittee of the Child Welfare Advisory Council.

Suspicious physical injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Burns or scalds

  • Extensive bruising or abrasions on any part of the body

  • Bruising, swelling or abrasions on the head, neck or face

  • Fractures of any bone in a child under the age of three

  • Multiple fractures in a child of any age

  • Dislocations, soft tissue swelling or moderate to severe cuts

  • Loss of the ability to walk or move normally according to the child’s developmental ability

  • Unconsciousness or difficulty maintaining consciousness

  • Multiple injuries of different types

  • Injuries causing serious or protracted disfigurement or loss of impairment of the function of any bodily organ

  • Any other injury that threatens the physical well-being of the child

Suspicion that injuries are caused by abuse must be addressed in the coordinated comprehensive way required by Karly’s Law. For more information about protocol and procedures please see Karly's Law ORS 419B.022 through 419B.024.