Children's Justice Act
The Children's Justice Act Program
Professional Training & Techinical Assistance | Local Technical Assistance
Virginia Multidisciplinary Teams | Publications Available | Virginia Legislation Concerning Child Abuse & Reporting | Report Child Abuse or Neglect | Contact Information
The Children's Justice Act Program is designed to provide training and technical assistance to jurisdictions and professionals in Virginia to enhance the investigation and prosecution of child maltreatment.
Professional & Technical Assistance
Since 1989, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has provided multidisciplinary training conferences to help local jurisdictions improve investigation, prosecution, and develop more effective skills and procedures for handling child abuse cases.
The target audience for this training includes commonwealth’s attorneys, law enforcement investigators, child protective service workers, medical, mental health and school professionals and other allied professionals.
Training is skilled based and focuses on issues related to case investigations and prosecution with a multi-disciplinary focus (such as current issues in child abuse prosecution, forensic interviewing of children, child maltreatment fatalities and preparing children for court).
A specialized curriculum for law enforcement officers has been developed. In addition, training programs for commonwealth's attorneys, judges and mental health treatment providers have also been provided.
Local Technical Assistance
Technical assistance is available to localities within Virginia to improve the response of multiple agencies to child maltreatment. This is accomplished through local work sessions designed to sharpen skills as well as improve teamwork, interagency communication, and coordination. Locality specific work sessions with representatives from core agencies develop written protocols and interagency agreements to improve case investigation, prosecution and handling of child abuse cases. Regional “Team Tune-Up” work sessions are held annually for teams to examine their goals, missions, and protocols for the purpose of generating renewed interest and strength in the team approach for child abuse cases.
Click here for more information about Virginia's Multidisciplinary Teams.
Child Abuse Poster for Emergency Departments | Child Witness Testimony in Court | Children with Disabilities
Children & the Internet | Through a Child's Eyes: Innocence in the Courtroom
Information Sharing and the Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Team
Child Abuse Poster for Emergency Departments
This poster provides some guidance to assist emergency department professionals with questions regarding examination and testing protocols and identification of resources for responding to and reporting child abuse. The poster Guidelines for Evaluation of Children in the Emergency Department Setting was created by the Forensic Medical Workgroup, a collaborative effort among child abuse professionals in Virginia, comprised of physicians, nurses, social services, law enforcement and prosecutors working together to improve the state’s response to child abuse.
Child Witness Testimony in Court
Virginia, like a number of other states, has taken steps in recent years to reduce the trauma experienced by child crime victims when they must testify in court about what happened to them.
One such step is an amendment to the Code of Virginia, which allows child victims in criminal or civil proceedings to testify from a room outside the courtroom via two-way, closed-circuit television. (Section 18.2-67.9 or Section 63.2-1521) The Code permits this at any criminal proceeding, including a preliminary hearing, or civil proceeding involving abuse or neglect of a child if the victim was fourteen years of age or younger at the time of the alleged offense and is sixteen years of age or under at the time of the hearing. The use of closed-circuit testimony is also applicable to a child witness who is fourteen years of age or under at the time of the trial.
For more information see Child Witness Testimony in Court: Protocol for Using Closed-Circuit Equipment, also view the Child Witness Testimony in Court: Using Closed-Circuit Equipment brochure. For Virginia legislation concerning used of closed circuit testimony in court see Section 18.2-67.9, Section 63.2-1521 and Section 16.1.252.
Statistics regarding the use of closed-circuit television in Virginia’s Courts can be reviewed in Virginia’s Use of Closed Circuit Television With Child Victims and Witnesses: A Look Back 1988-2011.
Children with Disabilities
The Partnership for People with Disabilities is now offering a comprehensive Web course (consists of 13 self-paced instructional modules which address the complexity of issues that surface when abuse or neglect of children or adults with developmental disabilities is suspected.
Children and the Internet
The use of the Internet is growing everyday. Many homes, schools and libraries have computers with Internet access. Frequently adults do not recognize the dangers of allowing unsupervised access to the Internet. Both within Virginia and nationally children are becoming more computer literate; unfortunately, so are pedophiles and other cyber-criminals. The 1999 Virginia General Assembly passed HB 1760 regarding computer related crimes against children and created statute §18.2-374.3B.
The Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (SOVA ICAC) and Northern Virginia-DC Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (NOVA-DC ICAC) are two Virginia-based initiatives that combat Internet crimes against children.
In addition, the Virginia Community Policing Institute (VCPI) offers a FREE interactive CD-ROM titled MOUSETRAP that is designed to teach parents, teachers, and others about the Internet and online predators.
DCJS assists in training on issues dealing with Internet crimes against children. The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have teamed up to address this problem on a national level. Visit their web sites for information on how to protect children online.
Through a Child's Eyes: Innocence in the Courtroom
View the video, "Through a Child's Eyes: Innocence in the Courtroom".
Information Sharing and the Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Team
The booklet on Information Sharing and the Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Team was developed to provide guidance on Virginia law to professionals serving on multidisciplinary teams investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect. This information is provided as guidance to teams regarding what information may be shared and is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for consultation with counsel.
Virginia Legislation Concerning Child Abuse & Reporting
Section 63.2-100 Definitions
Section 63.2-1509 Who Must Report and Penalty for Failure to Report
Section 63.2-1512 Immunity Against Liability of Person Making Report
Report Child Abuse or Neglect
Reports of child abuse or neglect should be made to your local Department of Social Services during normal business hours. Telephone numbers can be found in the blue section of your telephone book, or you can report child abuse and neglect to a 24 hour hotline 1-800-552-7096. For more information on Child Protective Services visit the Department of Social Services website.
For additional information on the Children's Justice Act Program in Virginia, e-mail
or call 804.371.0534.