Practice Guidelines


APSAC's national, interdisciplinary guidelines task forces regularly promulgate concise, data-based guidelines on key areas of practice in the field of child maltreatment. APSAC Guidelines for Practice are submitted to a rigorous, multi-layered process of peer review, involving experts in the subject area not on the task force, the membership of APSAC, legal counsel, and APSAC's Board of Directors. All Guidelines for Practice have been approved by the APSAC Board.

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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: The Medical Provider's Role in Identification, Assessment and Treatment

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of ChildrenThe commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a major public health problem in the United States and worldwide. Although the true prevalence of CSEC is unknown, it has been estimated that approximately 244,000 U.S. children are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation each year (Estes & Weiner, 2002). In a recent study, Edwards and colleagues found that among a nationally representative sample of more than 13,000 U.S. adolescents, 3.5% admitted to exchanging sex for money or drugs (Edwards, Iritani, & Hallfors, 2006). Many CSEC victims will present for medical care at some point during their period of exploitation, often for treatment of acute conditions. These guidelines provide medical professionals with an overview regarding the current understanding of the commercial sexual exploitation of children. They focus on the epidemiology of CSEC, the impact of exploitation on victim physical and mental health, and the role of the medical provider in identifying victims, assessing their needs and securing appropriate services. The guidelines primarily address the needs of victims of prostitution and other sexually oriented work (for example, exotic dancing) and sex tourism; the needs of victims of pornography are described in detail elsewhere (Cooper, 2005a). Published 2013.

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Forensic Interviewing in Cases of Suspected Child Abuse

Integrating PreventionForensic interviewing of suspected child abuse victims is a specialized skill. It is investigative in nature and used to obtain information to help determine whether abuse has occurred. Forensic interviews are most often conducted by specially trained child forensic interviewers, law enforcement investigators, and child protective service workers. These interviews can provide critical evidence for both criminal child abuse investigations and civil child protection proceedings. Information from the interviews may also identify other victims, assist professionals responsible for assessing risk and safety needs of children and families, and facilitate case management decisions. Because children are often a key source of information about alleged abuse (especially child sexual abuse), it is critical that these interviews be done competently. These Guidelines are an update of the 2002 APSAC Practice Guidelines on “Investigative Interviewing in Cases of Alleged Child Abuse.”  They reflect current knowledge about best practices related to forensic interviews, and should be considered in conjunction with the 2011 APSAC Handbook on Child MaltreatmentThird Edition (see especially Chapter 20, “Interviewing Children” by Saywitz, Lyon & Goodman). Published 2012.

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Integrating Prevention Into the Work of Child Maltreatment Professionals

Integrating PreventionPreventing maltreatment spares children pain and suffering, both physical and psychological, and improves their long-term health and developmental outcomes. The serious physical and mental harms manifested during adulthood further call us to action (Anda et al., 2002). Prevention mitigates the direct costs of child abuse and neglect as well as improving all of our lives through increased productivity and decreased crime and need for medical, mental health and social services (Alexander et al., 2003). Prevent Child Abuse America (Wang & Holton, 2008) used "conservative" estimates to calculate these direct and indirecte costs at $103.8 billion in 2007. Early prevention may be even more effective in preventing harm from abuse and neglect, saving money for society, and improving society's health and happiness overall, with the included objective of leveraging current practices and programs to change how society values children (Greeley, 2009). These guidelines are designed to assist the professional in going beyond reporting by integrating best practices for child maltreatment prevention activities into their daily work with children and families. Published in 2010.

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Challenges in the Evaluation of Child Neglect
Evaluation of Child NeglectThe purpose of these Guidelines, developed by an APSAC Task Force, is to give a broad overview of the current understanding of child neglect, using an evidence-based approach to focus on the impact of neglect on children, and the multidisciplinary approach to child neglect evaluations. Specific discussion of intervention strategies is beyond the scope of this work. Published in 2008.

 

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Psychosocial Evaluation of Suspected Sexual Abuse in Children, Second Edition

Psychosocial Evaluation CoverProduced by the APSAC Task Force on the Psychosocial Evaluation of Suspected Sexual Abuse in Children, chaired by Lucy Berliner, MSW. Second edition published in June, 1997. Topics covered include characteristics of the evaluator, components of the evaluation, interviewing procedure, the interview, and the report. Published in 1997.

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Psychosocial Evaluation of Suspected Psychological Maltreatment in Children and Adolescents

Pyschosocial EvaluationThe purpose of these guidelines is to provide guidance for professionals evaluating children to determine whether they are or have been victims of psychological maltreatment. The results of such evaluations may be used to assist in case planning, legal decision-making, and treatment planning. The guidelines apply primarily to forensic assessments of psychological maltreatment. Published in 1995.

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Use of Anatomical Dolls in Child Sexual Abuse Assessments

Use of Anatomical Dolls CoverProduced by the APSAC Task Force on the Use of Anatomical Dolls in Child Sexual Abuse Assessments, chaired by Mark D. Everson, PhD and John E. B. Myers, JD. In addition to a summary of research findings, how to interpret behavior with dolls, the efficacy of anatomical dolls, and inappropriate uses are covered. Published in 1995.

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