Recurrent Maltreatment During Childhood: A Survey of Referrals to Police Child Protection Units in England

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Abstract

The aims of this study were to identify patterns of abuse and neglect over time and compare recurrent maltreatment by the same perpetrator with recurrent maltreatment by different perpetrators. The sample consisted of 400 referrals to police child protection units, 24% of which were subjected to at least one re-referral within the 27-month follow-up. The greatest risk of re-referral was in the first 30 days. A study of 54 first-time referrals who were later re-referred showed that 57% had suffered repeat victimization by the same perpetrator, 25% suffered re-victimization by a different perpetrator, and 18% suffered both. Police response was not related to either the rate or type of re-referral, although one quarter of perpetrators have been previously in contact with the police. The most predictive warning signs of re-referral were family psychiatric problems, drug or alcohol abuse, in addition to child learning difficulties, behavioural problems, or previous referrals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-286
JournalChild Maltreatment
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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