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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 218530 Find in a Library
Title: Evaluating Children's Advocacy Centers' Response to Child Sexual Abuse
Author(s): Theodore P. Cross; Lisa M. Jones; Wendy A. Walsh; Monique Simone; David J. Kolko; Joyce Szczepanski; Tonya Lippert; Karen Davison; Arthur Cryns; Polly Sosnowski; Amy Shadoin; Suzanne Magnuson
Date Published: August 2008
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 1999-JP-FX-1101;01-JN-FX-0009;2002-JW-BX-0002
Sale Source: Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse/NCJRS
P.O. Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report presents an overview of a four-site evaluation of Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs), which were established to provide a sensitive environment for child sexual abuse victims and other child-maltreatment victims, as well as their families, in the course of investigating their cases.
Abstract: The evaluation found that cases investigated by CACs demonstrated several advantages over other structures for managing child sexual abuse cases. The multiagency investigations of CACs were more likely to be coordinated effectively and efficiently and to involve the police. In cases managed by CACs, children were more likely to receive referrals for forensic medical evaluations and mental health services. Nonabusive caregivers in CAC cases reported a higher average level of satisfaction, both with child interviewing and with the investigation as a whole. Children tended to report feeling less scared during CAC interviews. There was no clear evidence, however, that CACs were more effective than other case-management structures in the following areas: achieving the alleged child victim’s disclosure of the abuse in a forensic interview; filing charges against a suspect; gaining offender confessions; and gaining convictions. The evaluation offered several recommendations for improving the effectiveness of CACs. First, when promoting their programs, CACs should emphasize their skills in improving coordination, facilitating services, and working with families. Second, CAC could take the lead in establishing benchmarks for medical services. Third, CACs should do better in tracking service referrals and increasing access to mental health services. Fourth, CACs should address complaints from children and caregivers. The four CACs selected for evaluation were among the most experienced and long-standing CACs in the country. The evaluation collected three types of data: case file data; data from interviews with parents and children (those age 8 and older); and descriptive, site-level data. 1 table and 29 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse investigations; Child Sexual Abuse; Child victim interviews; Child victims; Families of crime victims; Family advocacy programs; Interagency cooperation; OJJDP grant-related documents; Services effectiveness
Note: OJJDP Juvenile Justice Bulletin, August 2008; downloaded December 22, 2008.
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