Background: In response to child victims of sex crimes, Canadian police agencies are required to work collaboratively with child victim oriented community organizations. Such collaborations involve the navigation of potentially competing objectives of partner agencies. Objective: In our research, we examine police interpretations of collaborative responses to child victims of sex crimes in order to assess the challenges and benefits of police and community partnerships. Participants and Setting: We conducted 52 semi-structured interviews and focus groups with police officers working on one of different ten police service organizations across Canada in order to unpack the joint responses of police and community partner agencies to child victims of sex crimes. Methods: We coded and analysed focus group and interview transcripts for emergent themes pertaining to police interpretations of their collaborations with governmental and non-governmental organizations when responding to child victims of sex crimes. In focusing on the management and sharing of information, the complexities and practicalities of joint responses to child sexual abuse are revealed. Conclusion: Collaborative tensions, such as differing mandates and blurred boundaries, were present in all participating policing agencies, but police working in and alongside CACs were more likely to recognize that the safety and best interest of children was a shared goal across partner agencies. Operating in successful partnership requires clearly demarcated roles and mutual understanding and respect between both police and partnerships agencies.

Child advocacy centres, Child maltreatment, Child protection, Child sexual abuse, Child welfare, Networked policing, Police roles
Child Abuse and Neglect
Department of Law and Legal Studies

Grace, A. (Anita), Ricciardelli, R. (Rosemary), Spencer, D, & Ballucci, D. (Dale). (2019). Collaborative policing: networked responses to child victims of sex crimes. Child Abuse and Neglect, 93, 197–207. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.05.001