How the Justice System Responds to Juvenile Victims: A Comprehensive Model.
The justice system handles thousands of cases involving juvenile victims each year. These victims are served by a complex set of agencies and institutions, including police, prosecutors, courts, and child protection agencies. Despite the many cases involving juvenile victims and the structure in place for responding to them, the juvenile victim justice system model presented in this Bulletin is a new concept. Although the juvenile victim justice system has a distinct structure and sequence, its operation is not very well understood. Unlike the more familiar juvenile offender justice system, the juvenile victim justice system has not been conceptualized as a whole or implemented by a common set of statutes. This Bulletin identifies the major elements of the juvenile victim justice system by delineating how cases move through the system. It reviews each step in the case flow process for the child protection and criminal justice systems and describes the interaction of the agencies and individuals involved. Recognizing how the juvenile victim justice system works can inform policy decisions and improve outcomes for juvenile victims. Acknowledging the existence of the system has important implications for system integration, information sharing, and data collection—all of which play a key role in ensuring the safety and well-being of juvenile victims.