skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 221638 Find in a Library
Title: How Long to Prosecute Child Sexual Abuse for a Community Using a Children's Advocacy Center and Two Comparison Communities?
Journal: Child Maltreatment  Volume:13  Issue:1  Dated:February 2008  Pages:3-13
Author(s): Wendy A. Walsh; Tonya Lippert; Theodore P. Cross; Danielle M. Maurice; Karen S. Davison
Date Published: February 2008
Page Count: 11
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores the length of time between key events in the criminal prosecution of child sexual abuse cases.
Abstract: Results found a wide distribution in time to disposition of cases, with 44 percent of cases resolved within 1 year, and 30 percent resulting in cases closed in more than 2 years. The three locations differed significantly in length of time for all phases of the criminal justice process, including charging decision, case resolution, and total case processing time. There were some variations across the three locations in case resolutions, even though the same District Attorney's Office served all the locations. Cases in which the offender was initially arrested were resolved in a timely manner. The majority of cases took no more than 60 days for the charging decision, time between law enforcement report, and indictment date. Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) cases had a quicker preliminary processing time than either of the two comparison communities, possibly indicating greater involvement of prosecutors initially in this quicker indictment. The Assistant District Attorney is located at the CAC and participates in investigative team meetings, and this could have some impact on the charging decisions. Notably, in one comparison community, more than 50 percent of the cases had a case resolution time within the 180-day target suggested by the American Bar Association (ABA) standard for felonies, whereas, only 13 percent of the cases of the CAC and the other comparison community had the same. There was also some variation of the total processing time between law enforcement report and disposition date. Again, one community generally had a quicker resolution of cases compared to the other two communities. Still, more than half of the cases took more than 1 year to be criminally prosecuted, which is dramatically longer than ABA standards and what many State statutes recommend for felonies. Data were collected from the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC) in Dallas, TX. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Child abuse investigations; Criminal proceedings; Efficiency
Index Term(s): Child abuse reporting; Child Protection; Child Sexual Abuse; Criminal justice evaluation; Texas
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.