Child Victimization: Exploring the Victims and Offenders Connected With Children's Advocacy Centers

Wendy Walsh, University of New Hampshire
Theodore Cross, University of New Hampshire
Lisa M. Jones, University of New Hampshire
Monique Simone, University of New Hampshire

ABSTRACT
Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) are playing a fundamental role in restructuring the community response to child abuse. CACs bring together multiple investigative agencies, such as law enforcement and child protective services, to conduct coordinated investigations of abuse in a child-friendly atmosphere. The number of registered CACs has increased seven-fold in six years. However, the research knowledge base about CACs is at an early stage. The proposed presentation will report initial results from a multi-year multi-site evaluation of CACs funded by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. This presentation will examine the types of crimes investigated at CACs, chacteristics and characteristics of the multidisciplinary response will be examined. These include the types of abuse identified before and after investigation, the use of force and duration of abuse, sources of identification of the alleged offender, and agencies involved with the investigation. The implications for understanding the criminal justice response to child victimization, including recantation and the ability to prosecute, will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006