The Investigative Windows of Opportunity
Originally published in The National Child Advocate in 1999, Detective Johnson continues  
to refine and expand his "Investigative Windows of Opportunity," those optimum times
during a child abuse case in which to perform an investigative function in order to glean the
most detailed information.  

Based on over 21 years of investigating interpersonal violence, specifically all forms of child
abuse, family violence and sexual assault, Detective Johnson has used these "Windows" to
successfully gain confessions in over 85 percent of his cases, and holds an impressive
conviction rate of over 99 percent.  These "investigative windows" are utilized by CACs and
MDTs in their investigative protocols throughout the United States, and this philosophy is
embraced by Law Enforcement, Child Protective Services investigators, and Prosecutors,
as well as other multidisciplinary team members.

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Recommended Reading
Best Practice Standards for MDTs and CACs
First presented to an audience at the 2008 Huntsville Symposium, Detective Johnson's "Best
Practice Standards for MDTs and CACs" continues to create a buzz within the child advocate
arena.  

This paper is based on Detective Johnson's observations of the changes in investigative
response by Investigative MDTs and CACs over the years.  In the early days of CACs and
MDTs, the primary challenge was to convince Law Enforcement and CPS to work together and
utilize the programs offered by CACs.  While this is still a challenge in some communities,
Law Enforcement and CPS investigators around the nation are now telling Detective Johnson
that they are following the tenets of his
Investigative Windows of Opportunity by immediately
coordinating, identifying and attempting to set up victims' forensic interviews at their CAC, but
are being told that an interview will be “scheduled” within a time frame that runs anywhere
from two days to upwards of two weeks. The question continually being posed to Detective
Johnson is “
What do we do?”  

The interchange between research, financial resources and the protection needs of children
is at the core of this dilemma.  Also at stake is the very relationship and function of the MDTs
and the programs offered by CACs.  Detective Johnson's research into this area is the basis
for this "Best Practices" paper.  The issues discussed in the paper and their resolution will
have a direct bearing on the ability of each community to protect its children.  This thought-
provoking paper is sure to generate debate.

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Unto the Third Generation: A Call to End Child Abuse in the United
States Within 120 Years
Victor I. Vieth
Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis
Kenneth V. Lanning
The Legal Eagles of Children's Advocacy Centers: A Lawyer's
Guide to Soaring in the Courtroom
Andrew H. Agatston, P.C.
The Traumatic Impact of Child Sexual Abuse: A Conceptualization
David Finkelhor, Ph.D., and Angela Browne, Ph.D.
The Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome
Roland C. Summit, M.D.
Symposium on Child Abuse Prosecutions: The Current State of the
Art: Article: The District Attorney as a Mobilizer in a Community
Approach to Child Sexual Abuse
University of Miami Law Review, November 1985
Robert E. "Bud" Cramer
Investigation and Prosecution of Child Abuse: Third Edition
American Prosecutors Research Institute
Burn Injuries in Child Abuse
Portable Guide to Investigating Child Abuse, NCJ 162424
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention
Characteristics that Distinguish Accidental from Abusive Injury in
Hospitalized Young Children with Head Trauma
Kirsten Bechtel, Kathleen Stoessel, John M. Leventhal, Eileen Ogle,
Barbara Teague, Sylvia Lavietes, Bruna Banyas, Karin Allen, James
Dziura and Charles Duncan
PEDIATRICS, Volume 114, Number 1, July 2004, American Academy
of Pediatrics
Understanding the Behavioral and Emotional Consequences of
Child Abuse
John Stirling, Jr., MD, and the Committee on Child Abuse and
Neglect and Section on Adoption and Foster Care
PEDIATRICS, Volume 122, Number 3, September 2008, American
Academy of Pediatrics
Abusive Head Trauma in Infants and Children
Cindy W. Christian, Robert Block and the Committee on Child
Abuse and Neglect
PEDIATRICS, Volume 123, Number 5, May 2009, American Academy
of Pediatrics
Evaluation of Suspected Child Physical Abuse
Nancy D. Kellogg and the Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect
PEDIATRICS, American Academy of Pediatrics
Diagnostic Imaging of Child Abuse
Portable Guide to Investigating Child Abuse, NCJ 161235
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Child Sexual Abuse
Portable Guide to Investigating Child Abuse, NCJ 160940
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention
Are there patterns of bruising in childhood which are diagnostic or
suggestive of abuse?  A systematic review
S. Maguire, M K Mann, J Sibert and A Kemp
Archives of Disease in Childhood
Can you age bruises accurately in children?  A systematic review
S. Maguire, M K Mann, J Sibert and A Kemp
Archives of Disease in Childhood
A scoring system for bruise patterns: a tool for identifying abuse
F D Dunstan, Z E Guildea, K Kontos, A M Kemp and J R Sibert
Archives of Disease in Childhood
The Presence of Bruising Associated with Fractures
Melissa L. Peters, MD; Suzanne P. Starlin, MD; Myra L. Barnes-Eley,
BS, MPH; Kurt W. Heisler, MS, MPH
American Medical Association
detective.mike.johnson@gmail.com