WestEd’s Justice & Prevention Research Center (JPRC), led by Anthony Petrosino, is recipient of a significant award from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to evaluate training provided to police investigators assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program (ICAC).

ICAC coordinates a network of task forces that help state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide investigate and prosecute crimes involving children, particularly crimes of sexual exploitation. ICAC supports include forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, and community education.

“This is mission-critical work for children and communities nationwide,” says JPRC Director Anthony Petrosino. “Our work will honor the commitment of smart, dedicated folks who are making a difference every day.”

Over the course of four years, the evaluation will assess the quality of ICAC training design and materials, the quality of ICAC training implementation, outcomes associated with ICAC training participation, and the costs and benefits associated with ICAC training. The evaluation team will incorporate a variety of data collection and analysis methods and disseminate findings to the OJJDP and national audiences.

As part of its evaluation for ICAC, WestEd will work closely with a national network of investigators and establish new partnerships with the Center for Cybercrime Investigation and Cybersecurity and the Crimes against Children Research Center at University of New Hampshire. Senior researchers for both Centers will serve as thought partners, advisors, and team members in the execution of this project. The project’s Co-Principal Investigator Ashley Boal explained, “We believe that our partnership and evaluation will help the OJJDP improve the training of ICAC investigators across the country and could have a significant impact on reducing sexual exploitation and other predatory crimes against children.”

WestEd’s JPRC conducts and highlights rigorous research and evaluation work in the areas of school safety, violence and crime prevention, juvenile and criminal justice, and public health. A primary goal of the Center is to serve as a trusted source of evidence on the effects of policies and programs in these areas.

“This work is a significant next step for WestEd’s JPRC, our partners, and the OJJDP,” says Petrosino.

Anthony Petrosino co-directs research and evaluation projects funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He will serve as Principal Investigator for this project and is joined by Ashley Boal, Senior Research Associate for WestEd’s JPRC, and Dr. Kyung-shick Choi, Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at the College of Criminal Justice at Bridgewater State University.

For information about WestEd’s JPRC, visit jprc.wested.org.

For information about ICAC Task Forces by state, visit icactaskforce.org.