5.25.2011

The Reasons For All The Child Sexual Abuse Experts To Communicate



By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

The structure for many of the local law enforcement agencies to investigate an allegation of child sexual abuse is different in each jurisdiction. Generally, there are policies, procedures and protocols which are adopted by each county child sexual assault networks.
Included in these networks are law enforcement, child protective services, medical personnel, child victim advocates, therapists, counselors, prosecutors and many other contributing individuals and organizations. Each of these individuals play an important role when dealing with a child sexual abuse allegation.
The policies, procedures and protocols are placed in a county sexual abuse network written agreement which is adhered to by the child sexual abuse experts. The experts generally meet on a bi-monthly occasion to discuss specific cases, sex offenders, investigative techniques, ideas and so forth. The communication, which occurs at these meetings are proactive in nature and provide information to all those involved in where they may be able to assist one another with a specific victim, witness and/or any and all investigative needs.
During the time frames where the child sexual abuse experts are not meeting, they are now communicating by texting, emailing, telephone calls and/or in person. The purpose of these communications is to work together in establishing a plan to ascertain the truth about specific investigations. These contacts are very important in dealing with child sexual abuse allegations, as allegations are not black and white and easy to resolve. Therefore, the need to collaborate amongst the child sexual abuse experts is vital to a successful investigation and ultimately the identification of any crime which may have occurred.
The lead role of who needs to establish the communication between the experts and law enforcement is the law enforcement child sexual abuse investigator. The investigator needs to direct their investigation in such a way that all of the information they gather provides an answer to the child sexual abuse allegations. Once the investigator receives the child sexual abuse allegations for investigation, they need to identify what child sexual abuse experts are already involved in the case and what role they have played to date. Some of the experts, if not all of them, may be a witness to some event and/or information from the child victim and can provide the investigator with facts and evidence, which the investigator had no knowledge of.  The experts must make a conscious effort to contact the local law enforcement agency and identify which investigator has been assigned to the case. The expert must be proactive in their role, as the investigator may not have any idea that they exists. The policies, procedures and protocols need to clearly identify what is the role and responsibilities of each expert. It is imperative that communication be the key to the success of the investigation. The experts need to know what is required of them individually and as an organization.
Many of the child sexual abuse experts need to know the many avenues which are available to communicate how they can assist the investigator in ascertaining the truth. Each allegation must be approached from a neutral and objective manner, which provides safeguards to all of the individuals involved in the case. The investigators need to know who their experts are, how they are involved in the case and what facts and information they have to offer. Each expert has the ability to make a difference in each child sexual abuse investigation. Gathering of the facts and evidence is law enforcements responsibility. The investigator must understand that there will be experts on each case. The investigator should utilize all of the new and innovative methods in which they now can use to reach and communicate the experts.

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