Theories of child abuse

Tamara Del Vecchio, Ann C. Eckardt Erlanger, Amy M. Smith Slep

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Lore in the field of child maltreatment suggests that the start of child protection from abuse began in the 1870s with the case of Mary Ellen. A child who was abused by her caregivers, Mary Ellen was removed from the home through work with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was created as a consequence of the public outrage and negative media coverage (Pfohl, 1977). Almost 100 years later, prompted by the seminal book The Battered Child (Helfer & Kempe, 1968), the field began progressing at a rapid rate with the establishment of mandated reporting (1960s; Besharov, 1983) and the child welfare system (1970s; Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, CAPTA, 1974).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Family Theories
Subtitle of host publicationA Content-Based Approach
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781135118754
ISBN (Print)9780415879453
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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