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January 2002Vol. 3, No. 1Emotional Abuse and Emotional Neglect: Antecedents, Operational Definitions and Consequences

Glasser, D.; Prior, V.; Lynch, M. A. The British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse, York, UK. 2001. 73 pp. $25.71. Hardcover.

British researchers conducted a study to gain a greater understanding of how emotional abuse is operationally defined and why, if it is so hard to define, children are placed under this category on Great Britain's Child Protection Register. They thought that because emotional abuse refers to a relationship, rather than a concrete set of physical actions, professionals might be reluctant to define a case as emotional abuse. Thus, a child in need of assistance may not receive it. The research was designed to:

  • Gather demographic data for children listed as emotionally abused on the British Child Protection Register
  • Identify possible antecedents of emotional abuse
  • Capture the nature of concerns about children at the time of registration, including children listed under multiple categories
  • Record the specific reasons for registration under the emotional abuse category
  • Examine the outcomes of registration
  • Discover the possible co-existence of unnamed emotional abuse on registrations of neglect and physical injury from a separate sample.

Using a sample of 94 cases listed as emotional abuse on the register, the researchers reviewed the minutes of each case hearing, as well as subsequent interviews with the social workers involved. They conclude that what constitutes emotional abuse needs to be better defined, and that professionals and care providers need to be alert to behaviors indicating that children have experienced such abuse.

To purchase a copy, contact:

British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
10 Priority St.
York, YO1 6EZ United Kingdom
Phone: 0-190-461-3605
Fax: 0-190-464-2239