Posted: November 27th, 2013
Investigating Crimes against Children
Most workers in the police department have witnessed deep emotions that are connected with innocent child victims to various crimes. Sadly, cases of child crimes have increased in the traditional period in a gradual pattern to the extent of an epidemic presently. Most reports and news in media such as newspapers and television are related to child crimes and therefore a huge population of police institutions has included investigators specifically working towards investigating crimes committed against children (Swanson, Chamelin and Terri 405).
Children have been victimized in several crimes from past period to the modern era, with the difference being the intensity levels. These crimes take different forms with the first being physical abuse that involves imposing physical pain on a child. Adults may inflict this pain through aggressive forms of physical abuse such as kicking and use of dangerous tools such as knives in beating a child. Another crime involves emotional abuse, whereby parents perform actions that impart negative feelings and low self-esteem in a child (Swanson, Chamelin and Terri 406). This is enhanced through showing ignorance, lack of interest and regularly belittling the child in all circumstances and settings. Sexual abuse is another crime that maybe directed to children and it involves acts of child molestation, rape and sexual seduction.
The three identified form of crimes have similar investigation approaches with only few variations noted in the given crimes with regard to intensity and the crime type. In the investigation of sexual abuse, no particular examination is used in proving the incident and hence its verification only depends on results acquired from interview sessions and medical tests. However if no physical proof is determined in the medical procedures, the investigation process of interviewing is left as the only proof in attaining assault evidence (O’Brian, Charles, Cheng and Rhind 74). This is because the connection between the child victim and the interviewer is very important in providing useful information as case evidence.
In the investigation process, the child is required to undergo common and precise medical tests and a couple of interviews. Medical tests comprise of the forensic approach in identifying fluids such as semen and blood that is useful in identifying crime executors. However, the outcome is not always positive since it may impart unconstructive effects. For example, the child can suffer from trauma after revisiting a tragic memory with the interviewer. In addition, information acquired from the child can be twisted after many interview sessions. In order to avoid this problem, the number of interviews should be lessened and different forms of examination including medical tests should be carried out by skilled and qualified experts as a way of downsizing any negative effects (O’Brian, et al., 74).
Investigators may also use video technology, with interview sessions being video taped and recorded at the same time to enable the investigating professionals to access immediate information within a short time. Video technology and photographing techniques are quite helpful in documenting all forms of physical evidences in all types of child crimes (Swanson, Chamelin and Terri 423). Note that, in all investigations concerning child abuse, the interviewing role is done by police officers in order to gather information concerning the given incidents. However, majority of child abuse occurrences are usually handled under family judicial systems. The individual who reports the incident is asked questions and the child victim might be interviewed within regard to the same. Parents, friends and other relatives of the child need also to be questioned about reported instances since the main goal is to get a clear visual of the crime incident (Sharon and Wilkinson 76).
The number of children that are acquainted with computer technology is increasing at a high speed and this makes people to be very concerned about their vulnerability of being exposed to internet crime (Monique, Casey and Mc Grath 151). Children have currently been recognized as mainly becoming victims of several crimes especially online sexual abuse. When an interviewer is investigating online crimes, he/she needs to develop certain skills in order to bring out clear details of what happened. The interviewer must also be able to connect with the child in terms of communication and use language that is comprehensive to the child. In addition, the interviewer should avoid complexity in the process and instead ask straightforward and simple questions.
Children are interviewed by police personnel who have been specifically trained to obtain necessary information thorough non-leading questions. A forensic form of interview is carried out with the permission of a police officer, especially in physical and sexual abuse instances. The interviewer ensures that there are no disruptions in the process especially when dealing with the affected child. Although the feedback may be emotional to the interviewer, he/she is not allowed to accord emotional reactions in disrupting the work because inefficiencies and biasness result to an unproductive outcome (Michael 68). In the investigating process, an interviewer must also create a good connection with concerned parties that could help in providing facts associated with the crime. For example, child abuse that results to a burn wound may be unnoticeable and therefore in such cases, it is vital for the investigator to have a good relationship with the hospital staff such as nurses, who have the access of discovering such injuries.
The interviewing process also needs to identify information regarding the history of the child and the related family plus any other party involved in the case. Various interviews usually turn out to be successful without much effort put on stressing the child. A concise interview is recommended in order to be able to collect main facts that lead to weighty evidence (Swanson, Chamelin and Terri 427). An interview is best preferred in an environment that is comfortable for the victim. For example, a police institution can innovate one of their rooms into a child-friendly atmosphere. This can be successful by including materials such as toys and coloring stationery, just to mention but a few. Despite the location of the interview, it is advised that the victim be accompanied by a family member but only according to the child’s wishes.
In my opinion, children who are most victimized come from authoritative families. This is because in such a setting, children are not given the right to express themselves and are only restricted to follow rules set by parents leading to unethical practices. For example in the case of sexual abuse, a drunk father may force his young daughter to be intimate with him and because of extreme fear of the authoritative rule, the girl obeys and ends up being a victim of child abuse. Cases of emotional abuse are also likely to be found in authoritative parenting, whereby the parents confront the child for a certain issue using the wrong approach such as insulting the child or giving life threats (Swanson, Chamelin and Terri 433). For example, when a father finds out that his son broke a prized item, he might insult him for his behavior or in extreme cases pick one of the glass pieces and threaten to harm him the next time such an incident is noted. However, many parents might think that such approaches are helpful because they believe the children fear consequences and thus imparting discipline.
Children whose parents have demanding careers have a high possibility of being victims of internet crimes because they are left under the care of assistants who do not have enough authority to control and discipline them. In addition, the assistant left in charge may be illiterate in computer technology and hence, fail to know how to control the child in the usage of a computer. For example, after parents leave for work a child is able to access any computer information from the internet including pornographic sites. As a result, the child ends up being a victim of internet crime, specifically pornography that is ranked as online sexual crime. However, such parents should enhance security measures such as blocking internet sites that end up victimizing the child.
Ferraro, Monique, Eoghan Casey and Michael McGrath. Investigating Child Exploitation and Pornography: The Internet, the Law and Forensic Science. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic Press, 2005. Print.
Hess, Karen, and Christine Orthmann. Criminal Investigation: Karen M. Hess ; Christine Hess Orthmann. Clifton Park: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
Hirschy, Sharon, and Elaine Wilkinson. Protecting Our Children: Understanding and Preventing Abuse and Neglect in Early Childhood. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2010. Print.
O’Brian, Charles, Chung Cheng and Nancy Rhind. Responding to Child Abuse: Procedures and Practice for Child Protection in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1997. Print.
Swanson, Charles, Chamelin Neil and Terri Leonard. Criminal Investigation. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006. Print.
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