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Child Maltreatment And The Justice System: Predictors Of Court Involvement
Sedlak, Andrea J.
Doueck, Howard J.
Wells, Susan J.
Schultz, Dana J.
Article from Journal - e-Journal
Research on Social Work Practice vol. 15 no. 5 (Sep. 2005)
criminal justice system
Objectives: Characteristics of the child victim, perpetrator, and maltreatment incident were used to examine predictors of court involvement in cases of serious child maltreatment. Method: Cases were drawn from those reported to: child protective services (n = 225), sheriff ’s office (n = 225), prosecutor’s office (n = 60), and dependency court (n = 65). Logistic regression was used to calculate predicted probabilities of criminal court involvement and dependency court involvement Results: Cases involving female victims were more likely to be filed in criminal court, and sexual abuse had the highest likelihood of prosecution. Cases involving male perpetrators, older perpetrators, and multiple victims were more likely to be filed for prosecution. Physical neglect was the most common type of maltreatment to result in dependency court filings. Perpetrator gender had opposite effects in the two systems. Conclusion: Tracking cases even in the same jurisdiction is confounded by the lack of common identifiers across the agencies involved.
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