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Serving Child Physical Abuse Victims

Posted by Patricia on Jun 11th 2018

Developing Capacity toward Serving Child Physical Abuse Victims

Getting Started
Before a Child Advocacy Center, hereinafter referred to as CAC, decides to offer or expand their services to victims of physical abuse, the CAC should assess the need of the community, evaluate their available resources, and determine the capacity of their multidisciplinary teams to respond adequately.

These are some steps a CAC should take to begin the process of adding physical abuse response and services at the CAC.

» Every state has differing statutes and mandates defining child abuse and directing the response to allegations. Check your state laws and local regulations to determine how existing mandates will impact CAC involvement.

» Explore how each of your MDT partners define and or categorize their agency response to physical abuse.

» Determine the number/proportion of physical abuse cases within your community.

» Map out the existing process for the response and intervention in reported cases of physical abuse cases.

» Determine what the agreed upon case acceptance criteria would be for providing these services at the CAC.

» Determine how the CAC will work with physical abuse cases involving non-verbal children and children who may be non-accessible, such as those in the hospital where there may be a delay in interview.

» Assess the community wide training needs that would be required to effectively accomplish the expansion of CAC services.

Serving Child Physical Abuse Victims

Developing Capacity toward Serving Child Physical Abuse Victims

Expanding Service to Child Physical Abuse Victims

Before a CAC makes the decision to expand services to include child physical abuse victims, it is important to determine both the current and needed capacity for all team members and partner agencies involved in the response and provision of services. At minimum, this would include law enforcement, victim advocacy, child protective services, prosecution, medical providers, mental health providers, and forensic interviewers.

Included in these discussions are: the team’s agreement to the number of additional cases they can manage; the available knowledge and expertise specific to child physical abuse and how that training will be provided to all team members; a clear definition and agreement of cases that will be included in the CAC case acceptance criteria; and established protocols for any additional services that will be available for caregivers of children who are victims of physical abuse.

Roles in Child Physical Abuse Cases

The community should work together with the CAC to develop an agreed-upon case acceptance criteria that will determine which physical abuse cases will be referred to the CAC. This criteria should be included in the CAC protocol.

Team Challenges

The team may encounter challenges determining an acceptance criteria that defines physical abuse conducive to the parameters of each involved discipline. For example, child protective service agencies may have differing mandates and procedures from those of law enforcement agencies. It will be necessary to review the related state laws and local regulations and work collaboratively to define what referrals are appropriate for the CAC to receive.

Define: Permissive or Required Referral

An option may be to define a “permissive” referral vs. a “required” referral in order to reconcile the need to have a universal definition. Defining physical abuse acceptance criteria in this manner may also be an effective strategy to introduce physical abuse cases to a CAC who have not previously worked with these type of cases.

This Project Supported by Grant Provided U.S.D.O.J.

This project was supported by Grant # 2015-CI-FX-K002 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.

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Hope for Children Foundation

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