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Special Feature: Child Abuse - Response

How to Report Child Abuse Cases

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Child Welfare Information Gateway Web site contains a listing of toll-free numbers for specific agencies designated to receive and investigate reports of suspected child abuse and neglect in each state. To identify the appropriate agency to contact in a specific state, see the Child Abuse Reporting Numbers page.

Publications and Online Materials

Protective Factors Approaches in Child Welfare
Child Welfare Information Gateway, February 2014

A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations: Adults/Adolescents
Office on Violence Against Women/National Institute of Justice-Sponsored, April 2013

Through Our Eyes: Children, Violence, and Trauma
Office for Victims of Crime, February 2013

Development of a Surrogate Bruising Detection System to Describe Bruising Patterns Associated with Common Childhood Falls, Final Report
National Institute of Justice-Sponsored, November 2012

OVC Help Series for Crime Victims: Child Abuse (For Youth Ages 12 and Older)
Office for Victims of Crime, June 2012

OVC Help Series for Crime Victims: What Adults Need to Know About Child Abuse
Office for Victims of Crime, June 2012

U.S. Attorney General's Defending Childhood Initiative: Formative Evaluation of the Phase I Demonstration Program
National Institute of Justice-Sponsored, November 2011

Custody Evaluations When There Are Allegations of Domestic Violence: Practices; Beliefs, and Recommendations of Professional Evaluators
National Institute of Justice-Sponsored, May 2011

Toward a Better Way to Interview Child Victims of Sexual Abuse
National Institute of Justice, March 2011

Greenbook Initiative Final Evaluation Report
National Institute of Justice-Sponsored, January 2011

Representation of Children in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings
Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2011

Child Abuse and Neglect in the Home
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, March 2010

Moving From Evidence to Action: The Safe Start Center Series on Children Exposed to Violence
Safe Start Center, 2009-2010

The Role of First Responders in Child Maltreatment Cases: Disaster and Nondisaster Situations
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau, 2010

Toolkit for Court Performance Measures in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, April 2009

Evaluation of the Demonstration Project To Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Atlanta-Fulton County
National Institute of Justice-Sponsored, March 2009

Healing the Invisible Wounds: Children's Exposure to Violence-A Guide for Families
Safe Start Center, 2009

Evaluating Children's Advocacy Centers' Response to Child Sexual Abuse
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, August 2008

Children's Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities
Office for Victims of Crime, June 2008

First Response to Victims of Crime
Office for Victims of Crime, April 2008

Differential Response to Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect
Child Welfare Information Gateway, February 2008

Do Best Practice Interviews with Child Abuse Victims Influence Case Processing?
National Institute of Justice-Sponsored, 2008

Federal Resources on Missing and Exploited Children: A Directory for Law Enforcement and Other Public and Private Agencies, Fifth Edition
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, May 2007

Processing and Outcomes of Child Abuse and Neglect Cases in Three Sites
National Institute of Justice-Sponsored, April 2006

Co-Occurring Intimate Partner Violence and Child Maltreatment: Local Policies/Practices and Relationships to Child Placement, Family Services and Residence, Final Report
National Institute of Justice-Sponsored, 2006

How the Justice System Responds to Juvenile Victims: A Comprehensive Model
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, December 2005

Family Dependency Treatment Courts: Addressing Child Abuse and Neglect Cases Using the Drug Court Model
Bureau of Justice Assistance, December 2004

A Resource for Evaluating Child Advocacy Centers
National Institute of Justice, July 2004

Child Physical and Sexual Abuse: Guidelines for Treatment
Office for Victims of Crime-Sponsored, April 2004

Children's Internet Protection Act: Study of Technology Protection Measures in Section 1703
National Telecommunications and Information Administration, August 2003

A Coordinated Response to Child Abuse and Neglect: The Foundation for Practice
Department of Health and Human Services, 2003

Funding Court Appointed Special Advocate Programs
Office for Victims of Crime, December 2002

Combating Child Pornography: Federal Agencies Coordinate Law Enforcement Efforts, but an Opportunity Exists for Further Enhancement
U.S. General Accounting Office, November 2002

Preventing Delinquency Through Improved Child Protection Services
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, July 2001

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Programs: Improving the Community Response to Sexual Assault Victims
Office for Victims of Crime, April 2001

Choosing and Using Child Victimization Questionnaires
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, March 2001

Reporting Crimes Against Juveniles
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, November 1999

Breaking the Cycle of Violence: Recommendations to Improve the Criminal Justice Response to Child Victims and Witnesses
Office for Victims of Crime, June 1999

Child Victims -- New Directions from the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century
Office for Victims of Crime, August 1998

Improving Tribal/Federal Prosecution of Child Sexual Abuse Cases Through Agency Cooperation
Office for Victims of Crime, 1998

Initiatives To Combat Child Abuse
Office for Victims of Crime, 1998

Court Appointed Special Advocates: A Voice for Abused and Neglected Children in Court
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, March 1997

Coordinating Criminal and Juvenile Court Proceedings in Child Maltreatment Cases
National Institute of Justice, October 1996

VOCA: Helping Victims of Child Abuse
Office on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, June 1995

Prosecuting Child Physical Abuse Cases: Lessons Learned From the San Diego Experience
National Institute of Justice, May 1995

Resource Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse & Neglect Cases
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Spring 1995

Child Sexual Exploitation: Improving Investigations and Protecting Victims: A Blueprint for Action
Office of Justice Programs-sponsored, January 1995

Portable Guides to Investigating Child Abuse
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Various dates:
  • Use of Computers in the Sexual Exploitation of Children, Second Edition (December 2006)
  • Interviewing Child Witnesses and Victims of Sexual Abuse (July 2006)
  • Recognizing When a Child's Injury or Illness is Caused by Abuse (July 2006)
  • Photodocumentation in the Investigation of Child Abuse (July 2006)
  • Criminal Investigation of Child Sexual Abuse (July 2006)
  • Investigating Child Fatalities (August 2005)
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Child Sexual Abuse (December 2002)
  • Battered Child Syndrome: Investigating Physical Abuse and Homicide (December 2002)
  • Burn Injuries in Child Abuse (June 2001)
  • Child Neglect and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (March 2001)
  • Law Enforcement Response to Child Abuse (March 2001)
  • Diagnostic Imaging of Child Abuse (March 2000)
  • Forming a Multidisciplinary Team To Investigate Child Abuse (March 2000)

Related Resources

Administration for Children and Families - Children's Bureau
As the oldest Federal agency for children, the Children's Bureau within the Administration for Children and Families has primary responsibility for administering Federal child welfare programs. The Children's Bureau seeks to provide for the safety, permanency, and well-being of children through leadership, support for necessary services, and productive partnerships with States, Tribes, and communities.

Child Welfare Information Gateway
Formerly the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, Child Welfare Information Gateway provides access to information and resources to help protect children and strengthen families.

CrimeSolutions.gov
The Office of Justice Programs' CrimeSolutions.gov Web site is meant to help practitioners and policymakers understand what works in justice-related programs and practices. Included on CrimeSolutions.gov is program and topical information related to child protection/health.

Federal Bureau of Investigation: Crimes Against Children (CAC) Program
The mission of the CAC program is to decrease the vulnerability of children to sexual exploitation; to develop a nationwide capacity to provide a rapid, effective, and measured investigative response to crimes against children; and to enhance the capabilities of state and local law enforcement investigators through programs, investigative assistance, and task force operations.

Federal Interagency Work Group on Child Abuse and Neglect
The Federal Interagency Work Group on Child Abuse and Neglect provides a forum for collaboration among Federal agencies with an interest in preventing child maltreatment.

Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program
Supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the ICAC program helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases. This help encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, and community education.

MedlinePlus: Child Abuse
MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from the National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies and health-related organizations.

National Center for Children Exposed to Violence (NCCEV)
Funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the mission of NCCEV to increase the capacity of individuals and communities to reduce the incidence and impact of violence on children and families.

National Institute of Justice (NIJ): Child Abuse and Maltreatment
This compilation of child abuse and maltreatment resources from NIJ includes ongoing research and future directions, publications, funding opportunities, events, and more.

NCJRS: Children Exposed to Violence Special Feature
NCJRS's Children Exposed to Violence Special Feature contains publications and related resources which focus on children's exposure to violence and the impact such exposure may have on the children.

Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)
OVC is committed to enhancing the Nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and to providing leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime. Visit OVC’s Child Abuse and Sexual Abuse page for access to OVC, OVC-sponsored, and other materials that focus on child victims of abuse. Additionally, this page contains links to topically relevant organizations and provides information about upcoming and past sessions from OVC’s HELP for Victim Service Providers Web Forum. 

Office for Victims of Crime (OVC): HELP for Victim Service Providers
The OVC HELP for Victim Service Providers Web Forum is a place where victim service providers and allied professionals can connect to peers, share ideas about best practices, and help change lives. Take part in the April 10 session on Child Welfare Agencies Responding to Child Identity Theft or view the transcripts from earlier sessions.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)
OJJDP provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization.

Safe Start Center
Funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the goals of the Safe Start Center are to:

  • broaden the scope of knowledge and resources for responding to the needs of children exposed to violence and their families;
  • provide and disseminate information about the Safe Start Initiative and emerging practices and research concerning children exposed to violence;
  • raise national awareness about issues concerning children exposed to violence.

United States Department of Justice Criminal Division: Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS)
CEOS works to protect the welfare of America's children and communities by enforcing federal criminal statutes relating to the exploitation of children and obscenity.

For additional resources on this topic, see the Juvenile Victims and Child Abuse/Exploitation sections of our site, and conduct a search of the NCJRS Abstracts Database.

Links from the NCJRS Web site to non-Federal sites do not constitute an endorsement by NCJRS or its sponsors. NCJRS is not responsible for the content or privacy policy of any off-site pages that are referenced, nor does NCJRS guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or correct sequencing of information. NCJRS is also not responsible for the use of, or results obtained from the use of, the information. It is the responsibility of the user to evaluate the content and usefulness of information obtained from non-Federal sites.