- March/April 2001
- Vol. 2, No. 2
First National Study on Law Enforcement's Response to Child Abuse and Neglect Cases Launched
The issue of whether or not to involve law enforcement officials in the reporting and investigation of child abuse will come under close scrutiny in a new national study by the American Humane Association (AHA), a national leader in child and animal protection issues since 1878.
With funding from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, AHA will provide a comparative look at different social service and law enforcement models. "Traditionally, the role of reporting on and investigating charges of child abuse has fallen on social wokers," said Paul DiLorenzo, Director of AHA's Children's Services. "If a charge is made, it is the responsibility of a local social service agency to determine whether abuse or neglect has occurred, and then what to do to ensure the safety of children. Over the past few years, we've witnessed a change where some communities are handing that responsibility directly to law enforcement agencies."
The study will solicit input from social service, law enforcement, and judicial arenas. At the end of the two-year project, a report will be produced, which outlines and assesses various policy options for communities considering the use of law enforcement agencies to handle child abuse cases.
A copy of the AHA press release is available online at http://www.americanhumane.org/pressroom/law_abuse.htm. (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.)
Vicky Bollenbacher, Ph.D.
American Humane Association
63 Inverness Dr. E.
Englewood, CO 80112-5117
A related manual entitled The Role of Law Enforcement in the Response to Child Abuse and Neglect provides a foundation for the involvement of local, State, tribal, and military law enforcement agencies in combating the crime of child abuse and neglect. It is currently being revised, however the 1992 version is available on the website of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information:
HTML format: http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/usermanuals/law/index.cfm
PDF format: http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/usermanuals/law/law.pdf