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Intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice

Special Issue Title: Intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse

Guest Editors:

Dr Anna Gekoski
Forensic Psychological Services, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, London, NW4 4BT
Email: [email protected]
NOTE: Please write ‘JCRPP special edition’ in subject line.


Although prevalence rates of child sexual abuse (CSA) are hard to determine, it is now widely recognised that it is a worldwide problem of considerable extent. CSA is usually divided into two categories: that which occurs in a family context (referred to as intrafamilial child sexual abuse [IFCSA] or incest in the literature) and that which is perpetrated by strangers (referred to as extrafamilial child sexual abuse [EFCAS]).

However, although far more common, IFCSA is less publically acknowledged and researched than EFCSA. Yet this type of abuse may have a profound psychological, behavioural, physical and emotional impact upon its victims, in both the short and long term. Victims may also be subjected to inappropriate or inadequate responses from the child protection and criminal justice systems, compounding these adverse effects and leading to secondary victimisation. This special issue therefore concentrates on IFCSA/incest, broadly defined as abuse which takes place within a family context (which may, for example, be by immediate or extended family, by family friends, babysitters or carers).

Research in this area has found that children’s voices are largely absent in the debate – often due to methodological and ethical problems – leading to a reliance on adult retrospective samples. However, issues surrounding recall and validity in these populations mean that we know relatively more about the long-, as opposed to short-term, effects of CSA. This special issue therefore particularly welcomes research that prioritises children’s voices – asking them about their experiences, the impact the abuse has had upon their lives, and their views about the systems and professionals they encounter. In this way we can put children’s voices where they belong – not on the periphery but at the heart of research in this area – and respond accordingly, planning services and creating policy to meet their needs. 

This edition is also especially interested in other under-researched areas of IFCSA, including:

  •  the scale and nature of IFCSA in minority groups such as disabled victims, black and minority ethnic (BME) victims, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) victims;
  •   the experiences of male victims;
  •   the prevalence of abuse by stepfathers as compared to biological fathers;
  •   sibling abuse;
  •   female-perpetrated IFCSA; and
  •   online IFCSA.

Papers on IFCSA outside of these areas will also be considered.
Theoretical, empirical, and up to date, comprehensive, literature reviews are welcomed.

Submission Procedure:

Submissions to this journal are made through the ScholarOne submission system here:

Please visit the author guidelines for the journal at:

Please ensure you select this special issue from the relevant drop down menu on page four of the submission process.

Submission Deadline: 31st May 2017