Nonoffending caregiver and youth experiences with child sexual abuse investigations

Lisa M. Jones, Kathryn E. Atoro, Wendy A. Walsh, Theodore P. Cross, Amy L. Shadoin, Suzanne Magnuson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Qualitative responses by caregivers (n = 203) and youth (aged 8 and older; n = 65) about their experiences with sexual abuse investigations were analyzed in conjunction with quantitative ratings of satisfaction. Respondents described mostly high levels of satisfaction, although dissatisfaction was reported with some key aspects of investigations. The features cited as worse than expected by caregivers were the investigators' commitment to prosecuting the alleged offender and the absence of clear and regular communication about the status of the case. The features mentioned most often by caregivers as better than expected were the emotional support and interviewing skills of investigators. Youth focused both praise and criticism on investigators' interviewing skills. There were relatively few complaints by either caregivers or youth about the duration of the investigation, medical exams, lack of services, or failures of interagency communication, areas of considerable reform in the past several decades. Implications for investigator training and reform initiatives are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-314
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of interpersonal violence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010


  • Children's advocacy centers (CACs)
  • Criminal investigations
  • Nonoffending caregiver
  • Sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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