Crimes against children are diverse in their approach,
method, and long-term implications. Child abuse is dynamic, where the abuse may
be physical, emotional, or various forms that disturb the child in a complex
way. The literature demonstrates the implications of child abuse and how those
impacted are going to be disturbed moving forward in their lives, transitioning
from childhood to adolescence and in to adulthood. Crimes against children is
deserving of heightened attention, where the literature suggests outcomes for
those who are not treated in their youth. Collaboration and awareness on this
issue demonstrate advocacy, where the children will eventually become adults.
Untreated, an adult who was abused as a child will face an uphill battle in
life, where the consequences for society are evident as supported by the










Crimes Against
Children: Long-Term Implications of Abuse

The issue of crimes that are committed against children is
one of the most difficult that criminal justice professionals and others that
are involved in the investigative process can encounter. Not only is there the
obvious issue of child welfare, but there is also a range of different factors
that must be given due consideration when an investigation into crimes against
children is taking place. The legislation that is in place which regulates the
investigative process is intended not only for the purpose of protecting
children from being victimized by criminal offenders, but also to protect the
privacy, safety, and health of these children.

The investigative process that is associated with the
examination of crimes against children is one that is often exceedingly
difficult. One of the most difficult factors involves the fact that the
cooperation of the children who have been victimized is essential to the
investigation. However, the actual involvement of the child victims in the
investigative process raises many difficult questions of its own. Often the
contextual circumstances in which victimization takes place is essential to the
decision that is made concerning what kind of investigative methodology is to
be utilized.

Crimes Against

The crimes that are committed against children vary in nature. Among the most
common are crimes involving abuse of a physical nature, or mere neglect. Often,
cases of these kinds are first noticed by various caregivers in a child’s life,
whether other relatives, neighbors, teachers, coaches, and social workers. Most
often the perpetrator of routine acts of abuse or neglect will be the child’s
parent or stepparent. Public agencies such as the local Child Protective
Services will be largely responsible for the initial phase of an investigation
of cases of these kinds. However, there are also other crimes that are
committed against children that are of an even more serious nature. Among these
are child abduction, child murder, child rape, and child sexual molestation.
Crimes of these kinds may be perpetrated by strangers, or they may be
perpetrated by individuals with whom the child victim was previously

Collaboration Efforts

            Child protective services (CPS) are
required to work alongside law enforcement officials, in most states. Newman,
Dannenfelser & Pendleton (2005) argue that the majority of states require
CPS and law enforcement investigators to work together “when investigating
criminal cases of child abuse” (p. 165). Thus, organizations throughout the
United States such as Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) have been developed in
order to bring on a collective approach. The connection between law
enforcement, as a wide body, and the specific organizations that are dedicated
to minimizing abuse toward children is necessary in order to deliver a
comprehensive approach (Newman, Dannenfelser & Pendleton, 2005). Whereas
investigation may be the role of law enforcement, an issue of this magnitude
demands multiple individuals and organizations working toward a solution, both
for the individual cases as well as the wider scope of abuse in the United

            There are multiple reasons that
these collaborative centers are utilized. Legal or administrative issues,
mandate and protocol, environmental support for children (aligned with
child-driven goals), medical treatment and centers for expertise are some of
the reasons that these collaborative centers have become so popular (Newman,
Dannenfelser & Pendleton, 2005). The centers have the potential to become even
more progressive. However, it must be recognized that these centers are working
alongside law enforcement to bring a new approach to child abuse, one that does
not only investigate the crime but identify solutions for these children moving


            With a collaborative response to
such a sensitive issue comes barriers to progress. Newman & Dannenfelser
(2005) argue that there is often confusion as to who should have the
decision-making power when both law enforcement and child advocacy agencies are
involved. Whereas law enforcement is dynamic in its goals, they may still not
align with what a child advocacy organization is looking to accomplish. While
collaboration is progressive in this environment, there is, at times, a lack of
clarity as to which organization is making the decision and delivering the
highest level of value for the children, who must remain the focus (Newman
& Dannenfelser, 2005).

Heightened Abuse: Pedophiles and
Child Molesters

            Pedophiles and child molesters share
common characteristics. Murray (2000) finds that most child abusers are males,
where they can be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. The reason they choose
children as their victims is that the children are often vulnerable, available,
and physically weaker (Murray, 2000). Thus, one is taking advantage of a
situation, where the sexual abuse perpetrated may be a one-time incident that
consists only of fondling, but can still have catastrophic implications for a
child who is still developing (Murray, 2000). When recognizing child abuse in
this regard, investigation is critical and demands diligence. Law enforcement
agencies working with child advocates becomes crucial in determining whether
appropriate action will be taken, and whether the proper treatment will be
incorporated so this burden is not catastrophic to the development of the child
moving forward, which is possible in cases of abuse (Murray, 2000).




            Parents have a crucial role in
keeping their children safe. Peachman (2017) finds that there are steps parents
can take in order to advocate for child safety. Even so, there are times where
the parent (or child) cannot be blamed, as those looking to abuse children,
such as the aforementioned molesters and pedophiles, often use tactics that go
against the safeguards implemented by parents, law enforcement officials,
teachers, and the children themselves (Peachman, 2017). Still, the parents have
a duty to inform their children and recognize awareness strategies that will
enhance safety levels moving forward, and protect the children when possible
(Peachman, 2017). The victimology of a child who has faced abuse, as will be
discussed further, generally has a connection with the parents or the family
environment (Peachman, 2017). Thus, there is urgency in a household where abuse
is taking place, even if the immediate abuse is not toward the child.


            Children are distinct in their
victimology. The Editorial Board (2018) states, “If the #MeToo movement of the
last few months has taught us anything, it’s that it is extremely painful and
risky for victims of sexual harassment…to speak out against their abusers”
(para 1). Thus, there is a need for heightened advocacy in terms of
communication. Enhancing the victimology of children who have been abused is
crucial. Otherwise, they may not speak out, and will remain burdened by the
abuse without proper treatment methods moving forward. Victims are diverse in
this environment, and abuse does not discriminate. While there are demographics
that are more prone to abuse, the victimology for children suggests problematic
household environments that will disturb the long-term ability of the
individual to develop.


Moving Forward

            Collaboration between law enforcement
and child protection agencies becomes necessary. While there are barriers that
emerge when these organizations align with one another, the benefits overwhelm
the risk. Therefore, child agencies are going to have a major role moving
forward, where law enforcement remains in its investigative role to ensure that
those responsible for the abuse are given the proper consequences. Child abuse
in its many forms becomes a necessary focus of law enforcement, but the public
also has a responsibility to advocate for children and their distinct


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