How long to prosecute child sexual abuse for a community using a children's advocacy center and two comparison communities?

Wendy A. Walsh, Tonya Lippert, Theodore P. Cross, Danielle M. Maurice, Karen S. Davison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article explores the length of time between key events in the criminal prosecution of child sexual abuse cases (charging decision, case resolution process, and total case-processing time), which previous research suggests is related to victims' recovery. The sample included 160 cases in three communities served by the Dallas County District Attorney. Most cases (69%) took at least 60 days for the charging decision, with cases investigated at the Children's Advocacy Center having a quicker time than either comparison community. Only 20% of cases had a case resolution time within the 180-day target suggested by the American Bar Association standard for felonies. Controlling for case characteristics, one of the three communities and cases with an initial arrest had a significantly quicker case resolution time. Total case processing generally took more than 2 years. Implications include the need to better monitor and shorten case resolution time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalChild Maltreatment
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Case resolution time
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Children's Advocacy Centers
  • Prosecution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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