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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 252768 Find in a Library
Title: Prosecution of Child Sexual Abuse: A Partnership To Improve Outcomes
Author(s): Stephanie D. Block; Linda M. Williams
Corporate Author: University of Massachusetts Lowell
United States of America
Date Published: March 2019
Page Count: 30
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Lowell, MA 01854-3044
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 2014-MU-MU-0001
Sale Source: US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
810 Seventh Street, NW
Washington, DC 20531
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Program/Project Description; Report (Grant Sponsored); Report (Study/Research); Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Document; Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This is the final summary overview of a study that conducted a retrospective analysis of 500 child sexual abuse (CSA) cases referred for prosecution in one state for the purpose of identifying barriers to prosecuting these cases.
Abstract: Case records were analyzed for evidence related to the alleged incident and details about the victim, the victim’s family, the alleged perpetrator, and the prosecutorial decisions. The case attrition and the case characteristics associated with prosecution outcomes were also assessed. The study found that a small proportion of the CSA cases examined (less than one in five) reached the prosecution stage. Approximately half of those cases resulted in a conviction or guilty plea. An important predictor of a case moving toward prosecution was non-offending caregiver support of the child. New strategies for supporting caregivers and psycho-educational approaches designed to emphasize the importance of believing/supporting the child are needed. Another suggestion is to connect caregivers with other caregivers who have been involved in a CSA case. Evidentiary issues included problems with disclosures of the sexual abuse. A case often involved whether to accept a child’s version of events or that of an involved adult. The study also found that perpetrator criminal history and number of victims predicted case outcomes. Some problems encountered in determining a suspect’s criminal history are discussed. The project continues to work on developing guidelines and suggestions for innovation in prosecuting CSA cases, building on the partnerships developed in conducting this research. This report notes that these efforts will require that multidisciplinary teams develop action plans and evaluate their impact. 3 tables, 1 figure, and 27 references
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Case processing; Child victim interviews; Effectiveness; Investigative techniques; National Institute of Justice (NIJ); NIJ final report; Parent-Child Relations; Prosecution
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