Child Abuse Investigation Field Guide

Child Abuse Investigation Field Guide

1st Edition - January 13, 2015

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  • Authors: D'Michelle P. DuPre, Jerri Sites
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128023273
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128025666

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Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children. The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect. The WHO reports that over 40 million children, below the age of 15, are subjected to child abuse each year. Domestic violence in the home increases that risk threefold.   Child Abuse Investigation Field Guide is intended to be a resource for anyone working with cases involving abuse, neglect or sexual assault of children. It is designed to be a quick reference and focuses on the best practices to use during a child abuse investigation. The guide explains the Minimal Facts Interview, the Forensic Interview, and the entire process from report to court. It is understood that every state has different statutes regarding these topics; however the objectives of recognizing, reporting, and investigating cases of this nature are the same. Just as every crime scene is different, every case involving a child is different. Best practices and standard procedures exist to help ensure cases are discovered, reported and investigated properly, to ensure good documentation is obtained to achieve prosecution and conviction. This field guide will be a useful tool for law enforcement, child protective services, social service caseworkers, child advocates, and other personnel and agencies working for the welfare of children.

Key Features

  • Includes protocols and best practices for child abuse investigations
  • Explains the Multidisciplinary Team approach and why it is useful
  • Describes the Minimal Facts Interview and the Forensic Interview
  • Walks the reader from the initial report, through the investigation process, to pre-trial  preparation and provides tips on court testimony
  • Portable and affordable, the guide is tabbed for easy access of specific information while in the  field and can ensure that team members are “on the same page” throughout the investigation 


Law enforcement officers, social service case workers, juvenile workers, child welfare workers and attorneys / prosecutors

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction

    • Investigative Best Practices and the Purpose of This Guide
    • Background and Statistics
    • Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
    • Confidentiality and Protection from Liability
    • Immunity for Making Reports
    • Penalties for Failure to Report
    • The Benefits of an MDT Approach
    • Expectations of the Criminal Justice Process
    • The Law Enforcement Role
    • The CPS Role

    2. Dynamics of Victimization

    • Intra-Familial Abuse
    • Poly-Victimization
    • Domestic Violence
    • Children with Disabilities
    • Cultural Considerations
    • Sensitivity in Response

    3. Types of Child Abuse

    • What is Child Abuse and Neglect?
    • Physical Abuse
    • Emotional or Mental Abuse
    • Abandonment Laws: Daniel’s Law and Baby Moses Laws
    • Infant Safe Haven Laws
    • Child Neglect
    • Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Exploitation
    • Investigating Sexual Assaults: Medical Issues
    • Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking

    4. Investigation and Evidence Collection

    • The Multidisciplinary Team Approach and Child Advocacy Center Model
    • First Responders
    • Investigative Interviews
    • Witness Interview Considerations
    • Documentation
    • Order of Progression (Initial Interview)
    • Types of Witnesses
    • Chain of Custody and Its Importance
    • What Happens After a Report Is Made (Caveats for Jurisdictions)

    5. Juvenile Cases

    • Juvenile Perpetrator Investigations
    • Childhood Sexual Behavior Problems

    6. Preparing for Court

    • Testifying in Court
    • Special Note for the Attorney

    7. Resources

    • Glossary
    • National Resources
    • State Contacts (Alphabetically) and Resources for Reporting
    • Alabama
    • Alaska
    • Arizona
    • Arkansas
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • District of Columbia
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Hawaii
    • Idaho
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Iowa
    • Kansas
    • Kentucky
    • Louisiana
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • Mississippi
    • Missouri
    • Montana
    • Nebraska
    • Nevada
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • New Mexico
    • New York
    • North Carolina
    • North Dakota
    • Ohio
    • Oklahoma
    • Oregon
    • Pennsylvania
    • Puerto Rico
    • Rhode Island
    • South Carolina
    • South Dakota
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Utah
    • Vermont
    • Virginia
    • Washington
    • West Virginia
    • Wisconsin
    • Wyoming
    • National Resource Agencies
    • Notes

Product details

  • No. of pages: 166
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2015
  • Published: January 13, 2015
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128023273
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128025666

About the Authors

D'Michelle P. DuPre

Affiliations and Expertise

Police Science Instructor, Senior Consultant - Forensic Consulting Network, Columbia, SC, USA

Jerri Sites

Jerri Sites has 24 years of experience working in the field of child abuse investigations. She serves as a consultant for OVC TTAC and is a member of Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center’s Speakers Bureau. Ms. Sites was instrumental in creating the Children's Advocacy Center of East Central Missouri, serving as its founding Executive Director. As president of the Missouri Network of Children's Advocacy Centers, she helped create the state chapter for Missouri CAC's now known as Missouri KidsFirst, where she served as Director of Training. Jerri also took the lead in bringing the Finding Words training to Missouri, now known as Missouri ChildFirst. In 2015, Jerri became a published author, co-authoring the book “Child Abuse Investigation Field Guide” with Dr. D’Michelle DuPre.

Jerri has vast experience in developing multidisciplinary teams and providing training and technical assistance to children's advocacy centers and partnering child abuse professionals in Missouri and nationwide. She presents at the national, state, and local level and provides expert witness testimony in child sexual abuse cases. In addition to consulting, Jerri is the Program Director for the Rainbow House Regional Child Advocacy Center in Columbia, MO, where she supervises staff and provides training regarding investigative best practices for child abuse professionals in the 10 county region it serves.

Affiliations and Expertise

Program Director, Rainbow House Regional Child Advocacy Center, Columbia, MO, USA

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