Effectiveness of Child Advocacy Centers and the multidisciplinary team approach on prosecution rates of alleged sex offenders and satisfaction of non-offending caregivers with allegations of child sexual abuse: a systematic review

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Abstract

Background

Child sexual abuse is a multifaceted issue that negatively affects the lives of millions of children worldwide. These children suffer numerous medical and psychological long-term adverse effects both in childhood and adulthood. It is imperative to implement evidence- based interventions for the investigation of this crime. The use of Child Advocacy Centers and the multidisciplinary team approach may improve the investigation of child sexual abuse.

Objective

To evaluate the effectiveness of Child Advocacy Centers and the multidisciplinary team approach on prosecution rates of alleged sex offenders and satisfaction of non-offending caregivers of children less than 18 years of age, with allegations of child sexual abuse.Inclusion criteria

Objective

Types of participants

Objective

Children under 18 years, of any race, ethnicity or gender with allegations of child sexual abuse. Other participants included in this review are non-offending caregivers of children with allegations of child sexual abuse, and alleged sex offenders.

Objective

Type of intervention

Objective

The use of Child Advocacy Centers and the multidisciplinary team approach on child sexual abuse investigations.

Objective

Types of outcomes

Objective

Prosecution rates of alleged sex offenders and the satisfaction of non-offending caregivers of children with allegations of child sexual abuse.

Objective

Types of studies

Objective

This review includes quasi-experimental and descriptive studies.

Search strategy

The search strategy aimed to find published and unpublished articles in the English language published from 1985 through April 2015 for inclusion. The databases searched include: PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition, Criminal Justice Periodicals, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses and Criminal Justice Collections. An additional grey literature search was conducted.

Methodological quality

Two reviewers evaluated the included studies for methodological quality using standardized critical appraisal instruments from the Joanna Briggs Institute.

Data extraction

Data were extracted using standardized data extraction instruments from the Joanna Briggs Institute.

Data synthesis

Due to heterogeneity between the included studies, statistical meta-analysis was not possible. Results are presented in a narrative form.

Conclusions

The use of Child Advocacy Centers and the multidisciplinary team approach in child sexual abuse investigation may have positive benefits in increasing non-offending caregivers' satisfaction and prosecution rates of alleged sex offenders.

Conclusions

Implications for practice

Conclusions

Utilization of Child Advocacy Centers and the multidisciplinary team approach for child sexual abuse investigations may be beneficial in improving prosecution rates and the experiences of families involved. The use of satisfaction surveys for non-offending caregivers may be an effective tool to evaluate the satisfaction with services rendered by Child Advocacy Centers. Findings from this review may help to guide reforms. It is hoped that client satisfaction may lead to or improve utilization of services important for the healing process of victims of abuse.

Conclusions

Implications for research

Conclusions

Future studies may consider interventions that include greater sample size and more diverse ethnic groups to promote generalizability of findings.

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