Call for Papers: Special Issue of Child Maltreatment: Legal Responses to Child Maltreatment

Guest Editors: Theodore P. Cross, Frank E. Vandervort, & Stephanie Block

To address the need for empirical data regarding the legal system’s responses to child abuse and neglect, Child Maltreatment (CM) announces a special issue of the journal dedicated to publishing high-quality empirical research (quantitative or qualitative) examining legal system responses to the problem of child maltreatment. We wish to consider a wide range of empirical papers that will build our knowledge base regarding legal interventions in both the civil and the criminal context over the short- and long-term. The following are examples of the topic areas for which we seek articles, though articles addressing any aspect of the legal system’s response to child maltreatment will be considered:

  1. Novel methods for effectively evaluating legal interventions.

  2. Pathways that lead children victimized by child maltreatment to poor legal outcomes such as involvement in juvenile delinquency or adult criminality, and interventions that may disrupt these pathways.

  3. Legally mandated interventions such as offender treatment program, court ordered therapeutic interventions for children and families, and court ordered drug treatment.

  4. Programs that seek to enhance children’s effectiveness as actors in the legal system—e.g., forensic interviewing, child witness protections, and loosened hearsay rules.

  5. Programs aimed at addressing the unique needs of infants born exposed to illicit substances.

  6. The implementation and effectiveness of specialized treatment courts (e.g., family treatment courts, baby courts) aimed at rehabilitating maltreating families or identifying those children that would benefit from early permanency planning efforts.

  7. The implementation and effectiveness of law enforcement strategies for identifying, investigating and clearing cases of child maltreatment and child trafficking.

  8. The nature and effectiveness of expert witness testimony for achieving successful outcomes in cases of child maltreatment.

  9. The implementation and effects of adolescent sex offender registry laws as a tool for reducing reactive sexual offending.

  10. The actions and impact of children’s lawyers / guardians ad litem.

Questions regarding this special issue and the fit of particular topics should be addressed to Theodore Cross (, Frank E. Vandervort (, or Stephanie Block (