Community characteristics, social service allocation, and child maltreatment reporting

Asher Ben-Arieh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study expands research on the relationship between community (defined here as a locality) characteristics and child maltreatment. Research in this field is not new, but it is scarce. Our study is unique by examining changes between two periods rather than focusing on one point in time. Furthermore, our study examines structural conditions in small and medium size localities in Israel, a non-Western and non-Christian society. We compare our results with those from studies on inner-city and suburban neighborhoods in Western countries and earlier studies in Israel. We collected data on 169 Israeli localities, ranging from small ones (with as few as 1,500 residents) to medium size localities (i.e., towns) (with as many as 50,000 residents) in which approximately 34% of the Israeli child population resides. Our study tested four hypotheses: (1) Socioeconomic characteristics of the locality will be negatively correlated with the availability of social services; (2) Reported child maltreatment rates will be negatively correlated with the socioeconomic characteristics of the locality; (3) The availability of social services will be positively correlated with reported child maltreatment rates; and (4) Overall reported child maltreatment rates will be negatively correlated with the overall status of the localities. We have supported our second and third hypothesis in full, and partially supported our first and fourth hypothesis. In particular we have demonstrated that while demographics play a different role in Israel than in other countries in regard to child maltreatment, social, economic and cultural context are crucial for understating reported rates of child maltreatment.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)136-145
Number of pages10
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Communities
  • Context
  • Neighborhood and child maltreatment
  • Reported cases of child maltreatment


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