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NCJ Number: 202783 Find in a Library
Title: Child Victims of Sexual Offences: Tracking From Incident Report to Finalisation in Court
Author(s): Joy Wundersitz
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
Sale Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944
Canberra ACT, 2601,
Document: PDF
Type: Conference Material; Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This paper summarizes some preliminary findings from an Australian study of child sexual offense victims currently being undertaken by the Office of Crime Statistics and Research as part of a broader study of child victimizations.
Abstract: The study stemmed from anecdotal evidence that a high proportion of child sexual offense victimizations reported to police never progressed to successful prosecution in court. In order to verify this evidence, the study tracked a set of child sexual abuse cases from their initial point of entry into the justice system through the court outcome and sentencing. The objectives of the study were to determine how many of the cases proceeded to prosecution, conviction, and sentencing; how many cases were terminated at key points in processing; and the identification of factors that were associated with disposition prior to prosecution. The study encompassed all child sexual abuse incidents reported to police during fiscal year July 2000 to June 2001. During this period there were 952 incident reports in which the victim was less than 18-years-old at both the time of the offense and the time of the police report. Just over two-thirds of the cases in which a suspect apprehension occurred resulted in a prosecution in either an adult or youth court. An additional 6.4 percent were diverted to either a police caution or family conference. For just over one-fourth of the cases, the matter was either withdrawn or no corresponding court file could be found. Thirty-nine apprehensions were tracked through to the youth court; only one-quarter of these were part of a court case that resulted in at least one finding of guilt. Of the 200 apprehensions that resulted in the case being dealt with by an adult court, 43 percent had at least 1 guilty finding. The most significant "drop out" points for cases were in the early stages of case processing, particularly in terms of the level of clearance and the numbers cleared through the apprehension of a suspect. This occurred despite the fact that the majority of victims reported that they were related to or knew the alleged perpetrator. Reasons for the "drop outs" at each level of the system remain to be explored. 1 figure and 7 tables
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Case processing; Child Sexual Abuse; Convictions; Dispositions; Foreign criminal justice research; Prosecution
Note: Paper presented at the Child Sexual Abuse: Justice Response or Alternative Resolution Conference held in Adelaide, Australia, May 1-2, 2003; downloaded November 6, 2003.
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