Evidence-informed Practice, Practice-informed Research

25th anniversary issue 1 cover

This Friday, 18th November, we are celebrating 25 years of the journal Child Abuse Review with a special anniversary conference in Birmingham.

To mark the occasion, we have launched a virtual issue of Child Abuse Review which is freely available to download from the journal website:

Child Abuse Review

Evidence-informed Practice, Practice-informed Research

In this virtual issue we have pulled together a selection of papers from across the 25 years of the journal’s publication within the four conference themes of neglect, child sexual exploitation, domestic violence, and research into practice. We include papers by each of our four keynote speakers, as well as papers by several of the other free-paper authors who are speaking at the conference.

Over the 25 years of the journal, we have seen an increasing emphasis on evidence-informed practice: ‘the application of appropriate evidence, combined with the experience of the practitioner and their responsiveness to the current context’ (Sidebotham, 2013). Equally important is the emphasis on research being informed by and relevant to practice.



Neglect is one of the most prevalent and most challenging forms of child maltreatment. Our keynote speaker, Marian Brandon, is well known for her work on Serious Case Reviews, and has given a lot of thought to the role of neglect in child fatality and serious injury (Brandon, Bailey, Belderson, & Larsson, 2014). She points out that while neglect is rarely the direct cause of a child maltreatment fatality, it is a contributory factor in a much larger proportion of cases, and we need a more nuanced understanding of the different forms of neglect and their potential impact on the child. Given all that we know about the prevalence and impact of neglect, it is perhaps surprising that this topic is relatively under-represented in published research. One of our other conference speakers, Katherine Kloppen, undertook a systematic review of prevalence studies of child maltreatment in Nordic countries and found only one study reporting on the prevalence of neglect (Kloppen, Mæhle, Kvello, Haugland, & Breivik, 2015). Within Child Abuse Review, we have been able to publish a number of original research articles focusing specifically on neglect, including our 2014 special issue, from which we would particularly highlight the papers by Elaine Farmer, another conference speaker: (Farmer & Lutman, 2014).


Child Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) has come to prominence more recently, although it is clearly not a new phenomenon, as was pointed out by Nina Biehal, another conference speaker, in her 1999 paper on the risks associated with going missing from substitute care (Biehal & Wade, 1999) and in a highly cited review of CSE by Elaine Chase and June Statham (Chase & Statham, 2005). Our conference keynote speaker on this theme, Jenny Pearce, has been a leading advocate for appropriate responses to dealing with the issues raised by sexual exploitation, as highlighted in an early discussion paper (J. Pearce, 2006) and a more recent review of how Safeguarding Children Boards work to protect children from sexual exploitation (J. J. Pearce, 2014).


Domestic Violence

Our awareness of the impact of domestic violence on children has similarly grown over the years, and it is now much more clearly recognised as always being harmful to children. Part of this has involved the recognition that children are harmed even if they are not directly involved in the violence, and that the ongoing context of coercive control may be as damaging to children (if not more so) as any physical incidents. In a landmark paper published earlier this year, Emma Katz explores these issues and considers how we as practitioners can respond more appropriately (Katz, 2016). Preventing and responding to domestic violence presents huge challenges to practitioners, particularly where children are involved. In a systematic review available online through our Early View function, William Turner and colleagues searched for evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to improve the response of professionals (Turner et al., 2015). They found good evidence of training interventions improving knowledge, attitudes and clinical competence, but less evidence around system level interventions. One of the biggest challenges in this area is how to work with fathers, and this is an issue which Stephanie Holt, our keynote conference speaker, has specifically explored in her research (Holt, 2015).


Research into Practice

Our fourth topic of research into practice is addressed by one of the former editors of Child Abuse Review, Kevin Browne. Kevin has been a leading advocate for child protection services, particularly in Eastern Europe, and his paper comparing institutional care and international adoption between Romania and Lithuania is published online through Early View (Chou & Browne, 2016). Translating research into practice isn’t always easy and the paper by Helen Buckley and colleagues exploring the factors that may influence practitioner uptake of research is well worth reading (Buckley, Tonmyr, Lewig, & Jack, 2013). They highlight particular ways in which practitioners can both access and use research evidence to inform their practice, and get involved in further study and research, thus promoting the full circle of evidence-informed practice and practice-informed research.


You can access all the papers from the 25th anniversary virtual issue by clicking on the link below:

Child Abuse Review 25th anniversary virtual issue


Content of the Child Abuse Review 25th Anniversary Virtual Issue


The Role of Neglect in Child Fatality and Serious Injury
(Volume 23, Issue 4, 2014)
Marian Brandon, Sue Bailey, Pippa Belderson and Birgit Larsson

Prevalence of Intrafamilial Child Maltreatment in the Nordic countries: A Review
(Volume 24, Issue 1, 2015)
Kathrine Kloppen, Magne Mæhle, Øyvind Kvello, Siren Haugland and Kyrre Breivik

Working Effectively with Neglected Children and Their Families – What Needs To Change?
(Volume 23, Issue 4, 2014)
Elaine Farmer and Eleanor Lutman

Child Sexual Exploitation

Taking a Chance? The Risks Associated with Going Missing from Substitute Care
(Volume 8, Issue 6, 1999)
Nina Biehal and Jim Wade

Commercial and sexual exploitation of children and young people in the UK—a review
(Volume 14, Issue 1, 2005)
Elaine Chase and June Statham

Who needs to be involved in safeguarding sexually exploited young people?
(Volume 15, Issue 5, 2006)
Jenny Pearce

‘What’s Going On’ to Safeguard Children and Young People from Child Sexual Exploitation: A Review of Local Safeguarding Children Boards’ Work to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation
(Volume 23, Issue 3, 2014)
Jenny J. Pearce

Domestic Violence

Beyond the Physical Incident Model: How Children Living with Domestic Violence are Harmed By and Resist Regimes of Coercive Control
(Volume 25, Issue 1, 2016)
Emma Katz

Interventions to Improve the Response of Professionals to Children Exposed to Domestic Violence and Abuse: A Systematic Review
Early View: First Published 29 June 2015
William Turner, Jonathan Broad, Jessica Drinkwater, Adam Firth, Marianne Hester, Nicky Stanley, Eszter Szilassy and Gene Feder

Post-separation Fathering and Domestic Abuse: Challenges and Contradictions
(Volume 24, Issue 3, 2015)
Stephanie Holt

Research into Practice

The Relationship over Time between International Adoption and Institutional Care in Romania and Lithuania
Early View: First Published 14 July 2015
Shihning Chou and Kevin D. Browne

Factors Influencing the Uptake of Research Evidence in Child Welfare: A Synthesis of Findings from Australia, Canada and Ireland
(Volume 23, Issue 1, 2014)
Helen Buckley, Lil Tonmyr, Kerry Lewig and Susan Jack