Protecting Children from Violence: Evidence-Based Interventions

Protecting Children from Violence: Evidence-Based Interventions

Protecting Children from Violence: Evidence-Based Interventions

Protecting Children from Violence: Evidence-Based Interventions


Providing an evidence-based understanding of the causes and consequences of violence against children, experts in the field examine the best practices used to help protect children from violence. Various types of violence are reviewed including physical and sexual abuse, (cyber-)bullying, human trafficking, online predators, abductions, and war. In addition, it reviews the various perpetrators of such violence including parents and relatives, strangers, other children, and societal institutions. The possible outcomes of such violence including physical injuries, death, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorders, and damage to the social fabric of the local community are also explored.

To enhance accessibility, each contributor addresses common themes:

  • Opening case studies dramatically illustrate the human cost of abuse and neglect
  • Empirically driven estimates of the scope of problem to better understand who is at risk and why
  • Empirically driven testing of interventions to maximize effectiveness of programs
  • How current research compares to public perception and the impact on public policy
  • The worldwide problem of violence against children  
  • Evidence-based recommendations for reducing violence against children.

The book opens with a review of the history of the problem, the methodological approaches used to study it, and current "best practice" prevention strategies. The methods used to identify peer victims are then explored. Next child eyewitness memory is examined including the most effective techniques for maximizing the retrieval of information. This is followed by the research on missing and abducted children including the effectiveness of recovery programs such as supermarket campaigns and forensic age profiles. Next how the Internet is used in the victimization of children is explored including tips to help protect children online. Public attitudes toward sex offender registration laws are then reviewed followed by vulnerabilities that include genetic, neuropsychological, temperamental, cognitive, perceptual and social factors. International perspectives on protecting children from violence and global health inequities are then addressed. The book concludes with recommendations for future research.

Contributors are noted scholars from a broad range of disciplines. As such, the book appeals to researchers and advanced students in developmental, counseling, clinical, cognitive, evolutionary, and social psychology, as well as sociology, social work, criminal justice, education, and law enforcement.


Recent headlines in the Chicago Tribune listed the newest efforts to address reported violence in the high schools. With much hope, school peace summits and advocacy groups staffed by antiviolence consultants were set up to elicit dialog and then strategies to address the problem of violence in the schools. Also, as this volume gets ready to go to the presses, media accounts describe cases of missing and abducted children, including the recovery of Jaycee Dugard after almost 20 years in captivity. Many other examples of violence against children make up a part of the media landscape: bullying, physical abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, Internet predators, and the list goes on and on.

The need to address the problems of violence against children has been part of both of our research work and Kathy’s clinical work for years. Each of us has employed our skills as a scientist and scientist–practitioner to broaden the understanding of the problem of violence against children and the effectiveness of approaches meant to ameliorate that problem. Given our shared interest in these issues, we worked together to host a small conference in Chicago the day before the meeting of the Association for Psychological Science in May 2008. the conference included national, regional, and local social scientists who jointly addressed the issue of how violence against children could be addressed.

With public concern about the problem of violence against children, and the myriad of media accounts of specific acts of violence against children, we hoped that our conference would contribute to the development of a broader view of the problem of violence against children. These problems, which include child abduction by strangers and family members, Internet predators of children while on the computer, violence and bullying at school, sexual exploitation, physical violence, and acts of terrorism, war, and human trafficking, require, we feel, this concerted effort by social scientists to understand the behaviors and to indicate effective interventions that can be enacted by law enforcement, school’s faculty and staff, judiciary, and members of the general public. We think that ameliorating the problem of violence against children also requires an evidence-based approach. the important issues require not only the sophisticated theoretical analyses of the root causes of these problems but also the likely consequence and the system variables that can be used to eliminate the problem. We have written this book to provide a volume of solutions to the problem of violence against children and, in particular, the empirical evaluation of proposed solutions.

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