UNH Affiliate Lands $3.8M for Child Protection Training and Assistance
By Lori Wright, Media Relations
September 8, 2010
The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Training and Technical Assistance Program has received $3.8 million for child protection training and assistance programs for law enforcement. The program is part of the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center and a national hub for federal programs dedicated to the protection of children.
The ICAC Training and Technical Assistance Program is a collaboration between the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center and Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) in Appleton, WI.
“The ICAC training program is having a nationwide impact, helping police departments all over the country get the skills to deal with crime in the digital age. They have been a tremendous partner for our research program on Internet crimes against children. They have helped us get access to the law enforcement data we need to analyze the nature of these crimes. They also have been an essential conduit to help us disseminate our findings to some of the people who can best put it to use,” said David Finkelhor, director of the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center.
The partnership began in January 2003 when UNH asked Bradley Russ, retired Portsmouth police chief, to locate the ICAC Training and Technical Assistance Program within UNH’s Crimes against Children Research Center. While the ICAC grant is administered by FVTC, the partnership has yielded many benefits for UNH.
“David Finkelhor and the Crimes against Children Research Center are well-known nationally for their groundbreaking research on crimes against children. With the administration of these important federal child protection programs also under the umbrella of the center, we have come full circle, with cutting-edge research and training on child protection under one roof,” said Russ, director of the four training and technical assistance programs.
On July 1, 2008, Russ began overseeing all federal child protection programs funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention through FVTC. These include the nation’s AMBER Alert program, the child abuse and exploitation investigation training programs managed by the Child Protection Division, as well as training and technical assistance through the Criminal Justice Center for Innovation and the Internet Crimes Against Children programs.
“We truly are unique in that there is no place else in the country that does what we do. We deal with all of the child protection issues in the country: abuse, sexual exploitation, missing and abducted children, school safety, juvenile prostitution, and Internet crimes against children. We train law enforcement, prosecutors, social workers, child protective services, mental health professionals, medical doctors, victim advocates, probation and parole officers, judges, and the media,” Russ said.
The Child Protection Training Center provides technical assistance and research to personnel serving in the child protection profession. Training includes how to conduct investigations on missing and abducted children, child fatalities, child sexual exploitation, and child abuse. The center also conducts training on police/school campus safety, police juvenile services, and protecting children online.
The Amber Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program develops and coordinates the efforts of law enforcement, transportation, and the media to increase public participation in safely recovering abducted children through targeted education, increased communication, and effective sharing of resources.
The Criminal Justice Center for Innovation works with tribal communities to create a community justice cultural awareness concept where community health and safety needs are proactively met through collaboration with criminal justice service providers, community leadership, and community residents.
The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force helps state and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative response to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or other computer technology to sexually exploit children. The program is composed of 61 regional task force agencies.
In New Hampshire, Russ and his colleagues were instrumental in establishing the first child advocacy centers and building a network across the state. Child advocacy centers are community-based facilities that provide a child-friendly environment for conducting child abuse investigations, and coordinating services for child victims and their non-offending family members.
The UNH Crimes against Children Research Center works to combat crimes against children by providing high-quality research and statistics to the public, policy makers, law enforcement personnel, and other child welfare practitioners. CCRC is concerned with research about the nature of crimes including child abduction, homicide, rape, assault, and physical and sexual abuse as well as their impact. Visit the center online at http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/index.html