Neglected voices: Lessons from forensic investigation following neglect

Iris Lavi, Carmit Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the field of child maltreatment research, it is known that child neglect is a relatively neglected phenomenon. The current study addresses children's perceptions of neglect and the importance of taking into account the processes that children undergo while providing their perceptions. This qualitative study used thematic analyses of forensic investigations of children with external evidence suggesting high probability of neglect. The aim of the study is to characterize the manner in which children narrate their experiences and perceptions following neglect and what lessons can be learned from these narratives. Forensic investigations were carried out with fifteen children, five girls and ten boys, aged seven to twelve years. All of the suspects were the children's biological parents, nine mothers and six fathers. The narrative analysis of the children's interviews generated five themes. These predominant themes represent the children's experiences regarding the maternal or paternal neglect: (1) Difficulties identifying neglect; (2) neglect revealed as the narrative of family life unfolds; (3) loyalty to parents; (4) collective view (siblings and me); and (5) prominent feelings (hope for the future, fear, and sadness). This study has implications to understanding children's testimonies in cases of neglect and for welfare practices. The inability of children to verbalize the neglect they underwent in the initial interview contributes to the understanding of the importance of allocating resources to families and community services and not only relying on report-response strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-176
Number of pages6
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Investigative interviews with children
  • Narrative
  • Neglect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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