Child Maltreatment During COVID-19: Key Conclusions and Future Directions Based on a Systematic Literature Review

Amitai Marmor*, Noa Cohen, Carmit Katz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a far-ranging impact. As societies struggled to minimize infection, questions arose regarding the consequences for children. Initial research reported the urgent need for child protective services worldwide to adapt existing policies and practices to protect children from maltreatment during this time, which is the rationale for the current systematic literature review. This review examined studies published in peer-reviewed journals from March 2020 to October 2020 on child maltreatment (CM) in the context of COVID-19. Twenty-five manuscripts met the inclusion criteria and were predominantly from the United States, with three international studies. The majority of the studies included CM reports during COVID-19 based on official data. The results clearly demonstrated an increased risk for children alongside a worrisome international decrease in CM reports. Only two studies addressed interventions during the pandemic. The current review highlights that, along with the obligation of scholars to advance the protection of children during COVID-19, there is much that is unknown. Future studies should examine the impact of the pandemic on children and their surrounding systems as well as child protective services’ responses, which face enormous challenges during a pandemic. An additional conclusion is that, since children were not identified as a health risk group during the pandemic, their protection rights may have been jeopardized. Furthermore, the variance identified in the policies of different countries pinpoints the urgent need to establish an international protocol for protecting children from maltreatment during COVID-19, a protocol that will hopefully be a basis for policymakers worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-775
Number of pages16
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • CM rates
  • COVID-19
  • Policies
  • child maltreatment (CM)
  • systematic literature review


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