The investigative process usually begins with gathering information from the reporting party. The interview with the reporter should include an exploration of what the child has said or done that the reporter thinks indicates possible sexual abuse, the reporter’s reactions to this information, and his/her knowledge of any other people or organizations with relevant information.

Good investigations include discussions (and data gathering) from the referral source, a child interview, a medical examination, an interview with the non-offending parent(s) or caregivers, and an interview with the alleged offender.

An abuse investigation can be a long process, and many parents find it frustrating and confusing. Using the services of the law enforcement victim advocate and/or the advocate from your local rape crisis center can help you to understand the process and find emotional support.

Differences in Investigations

Communities also vary in how their investigations are organized and coordinated. Some communities are fortunate enough to have multidisciplinary teams composed of members actively involved in the investigation or professionals who serve as consultants. In other communities, the roles of CPS, law enforcement and health care providers are coordinated, but the involvement of other professionals and the communication with the court are not well coordinated. In others, unfortunately, the investigation is haphazard and poorly organized so that professionals are not aware of what others are doing or are working at cross-purposes.

Help for your family

  • Learn about victim advocates or similar services at Crime Victim’s Services, which is maintained by the Florida Office of the Attorney General.
  • Download the Court Information notes form to help you keep track of any court proceedings you may need to take part in.
  • Find a list of rape crisis centers maintained by the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, or call their hotline at 1-888-956-RAPE (7273).

It’s important to remember that you are more important to your child’s recovery than the outcome of any investigation. Your love, support and commitment to your child’s well-being will do more to ensure that your child will thrive than any successful investigation.