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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51705 Find in a Library
Title: POLICE V CHILD ABUSE - PROTECTING THE VICTIM COMES FIRST
Journal: POLICE MAGAZINE  Volume:1  Issue:5  Dated:(NOVEMBER 1978)  Pages:58-63
Author(s): D BERNSTEIN
Corporate Author: Criminal Justice Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Criminal Justice Publications, Inc
New York, NY 10017
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A TUCSON, ARIZ., POLICE DETECTIVE'S EFFORTS TO COMBAT CHILD ABUSE BY ESTABLISHING A CHILD ABUSE UNIT AND BY IMPROVING POLICE RELATIONS WITH MEDICAL PERSONNEL AND SOCIAL WORKERS IS DESCRIBED.
Abstract: THE DETECTIVE BECAME CONCERNED ABOUT CHILD ABUSE WHEN REPEATED BEATINGS LED TO THE DEATH OF A YOUNG CHILD BUT FAILED TO BRING A CONVICTION OF THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY. THE POLICE HAD NOT BEEN INFORMED OF THE CASE UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE FOR A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION. THE DETECTIVE LOOKED INTO THE SITUATION ON HIS OWN TIME AND CONCLUDED THAT TUCSON HAD A SEVERE CHILD ABUSE PROBLEM AND THAT ABUSE CASES WEREN'T BEING REPORTED BECAUSE THE PUBLIC THOUGHT NOTHING WOULD BE DONE OR FEARED THE POLICE WOULD JAIL THE ABUSERS. THE DETECTIVE BECAME THE TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT'S CHILD ABUSE UNIT AND BEGAN TO DEVELOP PERSONAL CONTACTS WITH PHYSICIANS AND SOCIAL WORKERS, WHICH IN TURN LED TO GREATER POLICE INVOLVEMENT IN ABUSE CASES. ONE YEAR LATER, A SECOND OFFICER WAS ADDED TO THE UNIT, WHICH WAS INVESTIGATING UP TO 35 CASES EACH MONTH. THE UNIT ALSO TRAINED POLICE OFFICERS IN PROPER PROCEDURES FOR HANDLING CHILD ABUSE INCIDENTS AND MADE PRESENTATIONS ON CHILD ABUSE TO GROUPS OF CITIZENS. ALWAYS GIVING TOP PRIORITY TO THE SAFETY OF THE CHILD, THE CHILD ABUSE UNIT TRYS TO CONVINCE PARENTS TO OBTAIN COUNSELING, RESORTING TO ARREST AND PROSECUTION ONLY FOR REPEAT OFFENDERS AND IN CASES INVOLVING SERIOUS INJURY. THE OFFICERS TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE PRESSURES THAT MAY HAVE LED TO ABUSE AND AVOID PUTTING PARENTS ON THE DEFENSIVE. THEIR APPROACH HAS EARNED THEM THE RESPECT OF PHYSICIANS AND CHILD WELFARE AGENCY PERSONNEL, WHO NOW MAKE SPECIAL EFFORTS TO COOPERATE IN POLICE INVESTIGATIONS OF ABUSE CASES. A COMMITTEE OF PHYSICIANS, SOCIAL WORKERS, LAWYERS, AND POLICE MEETS MONTHLY TO DISCUSS NEW APPROACHES TO DEALING WITH CHILD ABUSE. ALL TUCSON HOSPITALS HAVE ESTABLISHED CHILD ABUSE TEAMS. IN ADDITION, THE CITIZENS OF TUCSON HAVE DONATED FUNDS FOR TWO SHELTERS, WHERE PARENTS CAN LEAVE THEIR CHILDREN WHEN THEY FEEL INCLINED TO ABUSE THEM. CONSIDERATION IS BEING GIVEN TO EXPANDING THE CHILD ABUSE UNIT TO ENCOMPASS OTHER KINDS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Arizona; Child abuse; Child abuse reporting; Interagency cooperation; Municipal police; Police field services units
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51705

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