Commentary: The Legal System Response to Child Maltreatment

Theodore P. Cross, Stephanie D. Block, Frank E. Vandervort

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Legal actions are perhaps the most powerful responses to child maltreatment. Criminal and child protection investigation and forensic interviewing can provide the evidence needed to support a child victim’s disclosure. Prosecution of child maltreatment can hold perpetrators accountable. Juvenile and family court actions can provide for children’s safety and oversee their care in state custody and journey to a permanent home. This commentary introduces readers to a special issue of the journal Child Maltreatment that focuses on the legal system response to child abuse and neglect. We provide an overview of the issue’s 11 research articles and additional commentary. These works provide crucial new knowledge on gaining information from child victims involved in the legal system, on the law enforcement and prosecution response to child maltreatment, and on the legal framework supporting child protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-402
Number of pages4
JournalChild Maltreatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • child abuse
  • child witnesses
  • court testimony
  • forensic interviews
  • foster care
  • legal aspects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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