Comprehensive Protection Needed for Individuals with Profound Developmental Disabilities at Risk of Abuse and Neglect

Maltreatment of individuals who are profoundly developmentally disabled is a problem that occurs across many settings and is investigated by human service workers and others. The prevalence [the total number of people who have experienced maltreatment in a specified time period] and incidence [the number of new cases in a specified time period] of such maltreatment is unknown.While we know the numbers are considerable there are no official national statistics. Several reasons account for this. First, there is no singular definition of developmental disability. Second, ...

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Rape on Campus: University of Virginia Rape and its Aftermath

As an attorney who represents victims of campus sexual assault and rape, I applaud survivors like Jackie for their strength and courage in telling their stories. I represent Stacy who is profiled in this article in Rolling Stone. Our case was one of only fourteen in UVA history where the perpetrator was found guilty. Stacy's perpetrator was suspended. It's unlikely that many of the other thirteen guilty perpetrators were even suspended. None of the fourteen guilty perpetrators were expelled. The assistance and advice of an attorney is essential for victims to ensure the ...

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U.S. Sentencing Commission Releases Video to Aid Federal Crime Victims

The United States Sentencing Commission today released a video entitled “Victims’ Rights and Federal Sentencing,” which aims to help crime victims exercise their right to participate in the sentencing process. Federal crime victims have a right to participate in sentencing and throughout the criminal justice process pursuant to the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 30, 2004. The Commission is commemorating the tenth anniversary of the CVRA this week by releasing this new video to help victims make maximum use ...

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Federal Criminal Restitution for Child Pornography Victims

On April 23, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated decision concerning federal criminal restitution for child pornography victims. The case, Paroline v. United States, 134 S. Ct. 1710, 188 L. Ed. 2d 714 (2014), attracted 14 amicus briefs supporting a victim named Amy, whose road to the Supreme Court started in 2008. Victims of child pornography are harmed twice: first, by the sex abuse and sexual assault committed against them and, second, by the subsequent distribution and collection of the images and videos depicting their sexual abuse. The ...

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Psycho-legal considerations of placing children in foster care

A healthy 3-year-old is placed in a foster home. A month later, a 16-year-old with a history of borderline personality disorder is placed in the same home. Without permission, the 16-year-old decides to give the 3-year old a bath. Tragically, the 3-year-old drowns. Whatever the exact circumstances, and the foster parents' behavior and liability aside, was it negligent of the agency initially to place the teenager in the same home as the young child? When a child is placed in a foster home it is the responsibility of the placing agency to evaluate the prospective home by ...

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Anonymous versus Identified Reporting of Child Maltreatment

  The child abuse and neglect hotline rings. All other factors being equal, does it matter if the reporter is anonymous or identified? Effective child maltreatment investigation relies to a significant extent upon information supplied by anonymous reporters. Reliance on these reporters presents the child protection, law enforcement, and judicial systems with a challenge: giving proper weight to such reports while safeguarding everyone’s constitutional rights. During FFY 2012, child protective services agencies received 3.4 million referrals involving approxim...

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Signs of Sexual Abuse: Tip Sheet for Media

A pamphlet developed by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), What Is Child Sexual Abuse?, highlights various forms of sexual victimization and their distinctive signs and symptoms. Targeted to media professionals, the pamphlet summarizes common behavioral red flags displayed by sexually abused children. A checklist of warning signs to help with the detection and identification are also provided, including:Bodily signs (i.e., bedwetting, stomachaches) Emotional signs (i.e., fear, sadness, acting out) Sexual signs (i.e., inappropriate ...

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