Questions: Adult and Juvenile Cases

Investigative Processes Guided by Specialized Knowledge

Law Enforcement Agencies

Always/ Yes Typically Generally Not Never/ No
  1. Do law enforcement agencies have policies or procedures in place to guide the investigation process for cases of alleged child sexual abuse?
  2. Do law enforcement agencies have policies or procedures in place to guide the investigation process for cases involving alleged cases of adult sexual assault?
  3. Do law enforcement agencies have specialized sexual assault or sex crime investigation units?
  4. If so, do they include specialized units for investigating computer/Internet–related crimes?
  5. Do law enforcement investigators receive specialized training regarding the following:
    • Victimization trends, including the dynamics that impact the disclosure process for victims?
    • Victims’ rights and the needs of victims and their families?
    • The heterogeneity of individuals who commit sex offenses, including the key differences between sexually abusive adults and juveniles?
    • Differential and developmentally appropriate forensic interview strategies for victims?
    • Child development, particularly as it relates to verbal abilities, memory, and suggestibility?
    • Interviewing techniques and strategies for alleged perpetrators and non–offending family members?
    • Trends pertaining to Internet–related sex crimes, and the use of computer forensics for investigative purposes?
    • Potential relationships between sexual victimization and other maltreatment within the home (e.g., child abuse, domestic violence)?
    • Sexual assault forensic examinations conducted by medical professionals?
    • Effective multi–disciplinary collaboration and critical information–sharing?
  6. Do law enforcement investigators receive information or training to promote their understanding of the range of statutory definitions that explicate specific sex crimes?
  7. Do investigative protocols within law enforcement agencies differ when juveniles are the alleged perpetrators? If yes, please describe:
  8. Are parents/guardians notified and allowed to be present during the interviewing process when juveniles are the alleged perpetrators (or is informed consent provided by the parents/guardians)?
  9. Do law enforcement investigators receive specialized training about juveniles who have committed sex offenses, including the differences between adult and juvenile offenders?
  10. Do law enforcement investigators receive specialized guidance about discerning sexually problematic from developmentally normative behaviors among juveniles?

Child Welfare Agencies

Always/ Yes Typically Generally Not Never/ No
  1. Do child welfare agencies have policies or procedures in place to guide the investigation process for cases of alleged child sexual abuse?
  2. Do child welfare agencies have specialized sexual assault or sex crime investigation units?
  3. Do child welfare agency investigators receive specialized training regarding the following:
    • Victimization trends, including the dynamics that impact the disclosure process for victims?
    • Interviewing techniques and strategies for alleged perpetrators and non–offending family members?
    • Developmentally appropriate forensic interviewing strategies for victims?
    • Child development, particularly as it relates to verbal abilities, memory, and suggestibility?
    • Victims’ rights and the needs of victims and their families?
    • Potential relationships between sexual victimization and other maltreatment within the home (e.g., child abuse, domestic violence)?
    • Sexual assault forensic examinations conducted by medical professionals?
    • Effective multi–disciplinary collaboration and critical information–sharing?
  4. Do child welfare agency investigators receive information or training to promote their understanding of the range of statutory definitions that explicate specific sex crimes?
  5. Do investigative protocols within child welfare agencies differ when juveniles are the alleged perpetrators? If yes, please describe:
  6. Are parents/guardians notified and allowed to be present during the interviewing process when juveniles are the alleged perpetrators (or is informed consent provided by the parents/guardians)?
  7. Do child welfare investigators receive specialized training about juveniles who have committed sex offenses, including the differences between adult and juvenile offenders?
  8. Do child welfare investigators receive specialized guidance about discerning sexually problematic from developmentally normative behaviors among juveniles?

Victim–Centeredness

Always/ Yes Typically Generally Not Never/ No
  1. At the point of disclosure or identification, are resources for victims readily available to offer crisis intervention, support, education, referrals, and advocacy?
  2. Do community–based victim advocacy organizations exist within local jurisdictions?
  3. Do designated victim services units exist in local law enforcement agencies?
  4. Do victims receive assistance with providing victim statements to investigative personnel?
  5. For child victims, does a safe, discreet, victim–sensitive environment exist to streamline the investigative process and minimize the negative impact on children and their families (e.g., child advocacy centers)?
  6. For adult victims, does a safe, discreet, victim–sensitive environment exist to streamline the investigative process and minimize the negative impact?
  7. Are physicians and/or nurses specially trained to perform forensic examinations on victims in sexual assault cases?
  8. Are Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) programs in place?
  9. Do investigative protocols address safety planning for victims?
  10. Are alleged victims and offenders separated as soon as possible after an allegation of sexual abuse has been made?
  11. When necessary, are alleged offenders (rather than victims) removed from homes in which sexual abuse has occurred?

Collaborative Partnerships

Always/ Yes Typically Generally Not Never/ No
  1. Are multidisciplinary sexual assault response teams in place to ensure coordinated responses to cases of alleged child sexual abuse?

    If so, are the following individuals/agencies represented on the sexual assault response team(s):
    • Law enforcement officer?
    • Juvenile/family court representative?
    • Guardian ad–litem/court–appointed special advocate?
    • Other victim advocate?
    • Child welfare professional?
    • Prosecutor or representative?
    • Mental health services provider?
    • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Forensic Nurse Examiner?
    • Other (please list):
  2. Are there multidisciplinary sexual assault response teams in place to ensure coordinated responses to investigations for alleged cases of adult sexual assault?

    If so, are the following individuals/agencies represented on the sexual assault response team(s):
    • Law enforcement officer?
    • Community–based victim advocate?
    • Prosecution–based victim advocate?
    • Prosecutor or representative?
    • Mental health services provider?
    • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Forensic Nurse Examiner?
    • Other (please list):
  3. Do policies or procedures delineate mechanisms for critical information sharing among the entities involved with investigating and responding to sex crimes (e.g., child welfare professionals, law enforcement officials, SANE/FNE staff, prosecutors, victim advocates)?
  4. In practice, is critical information shared across the entities involved with investigating and responding to sex crimes (e.g., child welfare professionals, law enforcement officials, SANE/FNE staff, prosecutors, victim advocates)?

Cross–Agency Data Analysis

Always/ Yes Typically Generally Not Never/ No
  1. Are the following statistical data collected to maintain an understanding of trends relative to sexual abuse/sexual assault investigations:
    • Number of sexual assault crisis intervention responses?
    • Investigations conducted by child welfare agencies (e.g., number and nature of referrals, number of completed investigations)?
    • Investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies (e.g., number and nature of referrals, number of completed investigations)?
    • Demographic information about alleged victims and offenders (e.g., age, gender, race)?
    • The relationship between the alleged victim and offender (e.g., family member, acquaintance, stranger)?
    • Case–specific information, such as the location of the alleged incident (e.g., home, outdoor/public location, school, childcare center) and use of force or weapon?
    • Number of forensic medical examinations conducted (including age and gender of victims?
    • Number of child advocacy center encounters?
    • Outcomes of investigations (e.g., number of cases cleared through arrest, substantiated sexual abuse referrals, number of cases referred for prosecution, number of unsolved cases)?