Child Advocacy Centers: A Coordinated Response to Child Sexual Victimization

Shelly Jackson, National Institute of Justice

Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) are multidisciplinary centers designed to improve the criminal justice processing of child sexual abuse cases. CACs have been in existence for 15 years. Recently, the National Children's Alliance, the parent organization of CACs, adopted standards for membership that include eight core components that make up the CAC model. And yet no systematic examination of the CAC model exists. This paper presents the results of a survey assessing the extent to which these core components are adhered to in the field, and variations within these core components. Using a stratified random selection design, 117 CAC directors (71 member and 46 nonmember directors) were interviewed using a semi-structured inteview that was based on the NCA's standards for membership. Results reveal the model has been widely adopted by both member and nonmember centers, although variations in its application exist. Future developments in the CAC model must include evaluation of the model.

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Updated 05/20/2006