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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 184386 Find in a Library
Title: Prosecuting Child Physical Abuse Cases: Lessons Learned From the San Diego Experience
Series: NIJ Update
Author(s): Barbara E. Smith
Date Published: May 1995
Page Count: 2
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF|Text
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper describes San Diego's (California) multiagency approach in dealing with child abuse cases.
Abstract: San Diego's approach involves coordination of case processing among child protective services (CPS), the police, the medical community, and the prosecutor's office. A CPS worker is usually the first official to respond to a report of suspected child abuse. Initial referrals to CPS come through a 24-hour hotline. Every hotline report and every case that results in an investigation are forwarded to the police. Police officers have full access to all the information contained in any CPS report. The police department is also required by law to report any alleged cases of child abuse to CPS. Under the interagency agreement, CPS's prime responsibility is to protect the child; law enforcement's is to investigate the alleged perpetrator. Prosecutors in the San Diego District Attorney's Family Protection Division work closely with law enforcement officers to answer any questions regarding the sufficiency of evidence or the type of evidence the prosecutors will need to convict. Because of the importance of collecting and interpreting medical evidence, the medical community also plays a crucial role in prosecuting physical abuse cases. The San Diego police department's specialized unit of 14 investigators handles all physical abuse, severe neglect, and sexual abuse cases. They are specially trained for their work. Interviews with CPS, the police, and the prosecutors in San Diego, revealed dissatisfaction with the leniency of sentences imposed in child abuse cases. Sentences were usually described as "mere slaps on the wrists." Implications for action are discussed.
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): California; Child abuse; Child abuse investigations; Interagency cooperation; Investigative techniques; Police child abuse training; Police-social worker cooperation
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