Law Enforcement’s Evolving Mission to Protect Children
The mission of protecting children and adolescents from maltreatment and exploitation has seen many advances since the initial publication of C. Henry Kempe’s landmark research and publication of the 1st edition of “The Battered Child Syndrome” in 1962. Law enforcement’s role and participation in this effort has evolved as well. As our fundamental understanding and knowledge of investigating child abuse and neglect cases and the development of improved investigative techniques have increased dramatically over the last 50 years, so too have the challenges and celebrations associated with law enforcement’s role in protecting children. This chapter will speak to the evolving status of best practice in the field of child abuse investigations; raise some of the challenging and controversial issues investigators manage through the course of their careers and some of the resulting policy changes as a result of their efforts. Finally this chapter will address questions about the short term and long term impact the direct practice of investigating crimes against children has on law enforcement professionals.
KeywordsChild Abuse Child Sexual Abuse Crime Scene Child Protective Service Child Pornography
The author acknowledges that various titles exist when referring to those responsible for the investigation of any crime against a child, for the purposes of this chapter they will be referred to as an investigator.
While acknowledging that perpetrators can be both male and female, for the sake of continuity, the pronoun he will be used to designate the offender. This use is not meant to generalize or make assumptions.
The author wishes to acknowledge Retired Child Abuse Detective Michael V. Johnson of the Plano Police Department for his significant contribution to this chapter. His conception of the investigative philosophy, the “Investigative Window of Opportunity” (Johnson 2009) resonates with this author and is used as a framework in this chapter with Michael’s support and blessing.
- American Prosecutor’s Research Institute. (2004). Investigation and prosecution of child abuse 39 (3rd ed.). New York: Sage.Google Scholar
- Beals, J., Novins, D. K., Whitesell, N. R., Spicer, P., Mitchell, C. M., Manson, S., & American Indian Service Utilization, Psychiatric Epidemiology, Risk, and Protective Factors Project Team. (2005). Prevalence of mental disorders and utilization of mental health services in two American Indian reservation populations: Mental health disparities in a national context. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 1723–1732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bross, D. C. (1988). The new child protection team handbook. New York: Garland.Google Scholar
- Children’s Law Center. (n.d.) Interviewing child victims of maltreatment including physical and sexual abuse. Available at: http://childlaw.sc.edu/frmPublications/InterviewingChildVictimsofMaltreatment.pdf. Accessed 19 February 2013.
- Connell (2012). Child and adolescent forensic interviewing: Human trafficking and sexually exploited children. Seattle FBI Field Office. Innocent Images National Initiative and Child Against Children Unit of the FBI. Seattle, Washington. August 8–9, 2012.Google Scholar
- Federal Bureau of Investigations. (n.d.). Critical incidence response group. Available at: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cirg/investigations-and-operations-support/investigations-operations-support#cirg_ncavc. Accessed 7 February 2013.
- Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., Koss, M. P., & Marks, J. S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP. (2012). Report of the Investigative Counsel regarding the actions of the Pennsylvania State University related to the child sexual abuse committed by Gerald A. Sandusky. Available at: http://progress.psu.edu/the-freeh-report
- Gilmartin, K. M. (2002). Emotional survival for law enforcement: A guide for officers and their families. Tucson: E-S Press.Google Scholar
- Johnson, M. V. (2009). Investigative windows of opportunity: The vital link to corroboration in child sexual abuse cases. Center Piece, 1(9), 1–4.Google Scholar
- Johnson, K., & Egan, E. (2012). Freeh report blasts culture of Penn State. USA Today, July 13, p. 2A.Google Scholar
- Kempe, C. H., & Helfer, R. E. (1968). The battered child. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Krause, K. (2011). Disproportional representation of minorities in foster care – a closer look. Retrieved from: http://www.dakotahillslaw.com/disproportional-representation-of-minorities-in-foster-care-a-closer-look/
- Lanning, K. V. (1996). Criminal investigation of sexual victimization of children. In J. E. B. Myers, L. Berliner, J. Briere, C. T. Hendrix, C. Jenny, & T. A. Reid (Eds.), The APSAC handbook on child maltreatment (pp. 329–348). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). (2013). Mission and history. Available at: http://www.ncmec.org/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=4362. Accessed 7 February 2013.
- National Children’s Alliance (NCA). (2009). History of national children’s alliance. Available at: http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/index.php?s=35 Accessed 7 February 2013.
- National Indian Child Welfare Association. (2012). Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. Available at: http://www.nicwa.org/Indian_Child_Welfare_Act/
- O’Hara, A. F., & Violanti, J. M. (2009). Police suicide – a web surveillance of national data. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 11(1), 17–23.Google Scholar
- Perry, B., & Szalavitz, M. (2007). The boy who was raised as a dog: And other stories from a child psychiatrist notebook: What traumatized children can teach us about life, love, and healing. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Sedlak, A., McPhereson, K., & Das, B. (2010). Fourth national incidence study of child abuse and neglect (NIS-4): Supplementary analyses of race difference in child maltreatment rates in the NIS-4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
- Shelton, D. E., Kim, Y. S., & Barak, G. (2006). A study of juror expectations and demands concerning scientific evidence: Does the ‘CSI Effect’ exist? Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, 9(2), 331. E2 80 93368.Google Scholar
- Snell, L. (2003). Child advocacy center: One stop on the road to performance-based child protection. The Reason Foundation. Available at: http://reason.org/news/show/child-advocacy-centers. Accessed 7 February 2013.
- Vieth, V. (2009). Picture this: Photographing a child sexual abuse crime scene. CenterPiece 1 (5). Retrieved from: http://www.ncptc.org/vertical/Sites/%7B8634A6E1-FAD2-4381-9C0D-5DC7E93C9410%7D/uploads/%7B997647FB-79F1-4C5F-BF8A-B3340672BEE9%7D.PDF