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How the Justice System Responds to Juvenile Victims: A Comprehensive Model

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2005
12 pages
This bulletin describes the major components of the juvenile victim justice system.
Entry into the juvenile victim justice system begins with a report of an alleged victimization of a juvenile to an authority, usually either a police agency or a child protection agency. This bulletin describes how each of these types of agencies usually serves juvenile victims. When processed by child protection agencies, reported cases of juvenile victimization are first screened to determine whether there is sufficient evidence of victimization to warrant a full investigation of possible child maltreatment. If such evidence exists, a thorough investigation is conducted. The investigation usually includes referral to police and prosecutors for possible criminal action against the offender, a medical examination of the child, substantiation of child maltreatment, the provision of prevention and remedial services, and a court hearing to determine how the child victim can be best protected and nurtured. The most intrusive intervention for the child is removal from his/her home and placement in a setting deemed safer and more beneficial for the child. Subsequent formal actions on behalf of the victim may include reunification with the family upon a determination that circumstances have changed to benefit the child or termination of parental rights, when it is determined the child will never be safe living with his/her parents. Processing of reports of juvenile victimization in the criminal justice system involve an investigation by police and arrest upon a determination of probable cause that the arrestee has committed an offense against the juvenile victim. Victim issues discussed in criminal justice processing are victim compensation, the decision to prosecute, plea negotiations, and sentencing. The bulletin concludes with a discussion of the impact on juvenile victims of the procedures of the juvenile victim justice system. 52 references

Date Published: December 1, 2005