Week 10 Final Application Assignment
May 10, 2014
Professor Cynthia Jackson
Several problems exist when it comes to laws, investigations, testimony, training, education, information sharing and the debate between the legal and psycholegal community when it pertains to the cases of child abuse.
In 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigations reported that an estimated 1,214,462 violent crimes occurred (U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2012). However, the 2012 Child Maltreatment report created by the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, Administration for Children and Families reported that in 2012 there were 1,820,892 child abuse reports that went through the screening process and were screened in as severe abuse (Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau., 2013).
Before 1874, the nation did not have laws that would protect our nation’s children, until the case of 10-year-old Mary Ellen McCormack was brought in front of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals who in turn brought the case before the courts. Only then, in 1874, was the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was created in order to protect the children from abuse (Markel, 2009).
With the development of the NYSPC, doors continued to open and other agencies were created in order to assist in the protection of children from their abusers. These agencies provide a multitude of services for abused children and their non-offending parent or guardian. Agencies such as the Child Advocacy Center began forensically interviewing children who were referred by members of the multidisciplinary team. The multidisciplinary team consists of representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement, forensic medical staff, forensic interviewers, victim advocate, psychologists, and investigators employed by the Department of Children’s Services (Durgin, 2014). The multidisciplinary teams work together in order to investigate and identify the child’s offender, the events of the crime that occurred as well as searching for any evidence pertaining to the crime, in order to gain justice and closure for the child victim (Malhotra, 2006). The forensic interviewer conducts a legally sound forensic interview that assists in the process of eliciting the child’s memories of the crimes committed against them by their offender. However, there are issues that are concerning to the multidisciplinary team such as their inability to share information among those who are assisting in the investigation.
The concern between the interrelated agencies is the lack of information sharing between counties and states without the concern of violating HIPPA regulations when working on cases where other counties and states are involved. The team feels that if the providing agencies were able to more effectively share information without violating HIPPA regulations, then they would be able to see positive results in regards to the collaborative process while working towards the same goal of protecting the child, his or her well-being as well as the family and their dignity.
Another issue related to the way in which investigations are handled pertains to the way in which the referral is received and a determination takes place on whether the case will be accepted or rejected. As of now, when a new referral is received a single person determines whether the case qualifies as severe or non-severe.
At this point, if the referral is missing information then the case is posted as non-severe and may end up as an assessment or screened out. A referral with all of the pertinent information may be screened in as severe and passed along with a case manager for an investigation to take place. If the case is found to be severe then it will be reviewed by the multidisciplinary team, who will assist in the investigation. However, many other