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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 150377 Find in a Library
Title: Child Abuse: The Response of the Legal System (From Violence and the Law, P 63-88, 1994, Mark Costanzo and Stuart Oskamp, eds. -- See NCJ-150373)
Author(s): J E B Myers
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 26
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The history and current status of laws and procedures designed to respond to child abuse are examined, with emphasis on the roles of criminal prosecution, therapy, imprisonment, probation, the use of the juvenile court, and foster care.
Abstract: Both child abuse and society's efforts to stop it have existed throughout the history of the United States. Although debate continues regarding the desirability of prosecution, everyone agrees that prosecution is often necessary. Disagreement focuses on whether scarce resources should be allocated more heavily to prosecution or to prevention and treatment. Sentencing in child abuse cases rests on the four major justifications for punishment: deterrence, just punishment, protection of the public, and rehabilitation. The punishment of child abusers, like other offenders, often consists of a prison sentence that is suspended in favor of probation. Particularly with sex offenders on probation, the authority of the criminal justice system provides the leverage needed to keep offenders in therapy. The juvenile court also has a central role in protecting children who are abused, neglected, or dependent. Disagreement has long existed regarding the limits that should be placed on the authority of the juvenile court to protect children. Once the juvenile court becomes involved, the court process is fairly similar across the United States. The foster care system is currently overwhelmed with increasing numbers of children. When children must be removed from the home, the long-term goal is usually reunification with parents. If reunification efforts fail, court proceedings may terminate the parent-child relationship so that the child becomes free for adoption. 123 references
Main Term(s): Victims of violent crime
Index Term(s): Abused children; Child abuse situation remedies; Child protection laws; Child welfare
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