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Law Enforcement Response to Child Abuse

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2001
24 pages
This guide provides information needed by law enforcement personnel to ensure consistency in child abuse investigations and offers useful suggestions on how police officers can work with physicians, respond to domestic disturbance calls, and place children in protective custody.
The role of law enforcement in child abuse cases is to investigate, identify and apprehend the offender, and file appropriate criminal charges. The response of law enforcement to child abuse needs to be consistent, and police officers must be objective and proactive in child abuse investigations. The most effective approach to child abuse investigations is based on interagency coordination and planning. Social workers, physicians, therapists, prosecutors, judges, and police officers all have important roles to play. Police investigators should be trained and experienced in objectively investigating child abuse so they can interview children and interrogate suspected offenders. Important considerations in child abuse investigations are listed, along with procedures for working with medical professionals and obtaining medical examinations and procedures for handling domestic disturbance calls and placing a child in emergency protective custody. A sample child sexual assault protocol for use by police investigators and a list of organizations involved in child abuse investigations are included. 13 references

Date Published: March 1, 2001