Editors' Note

We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by order of King Herod.  Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims, and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace: Collect for The Holy Innocents, Martyrs, December 28

A remembrance of the holocaust of the Slaughter of the Innocents, the murder of all children under two around Bethlehem (Mt. 2:13-18), follows by two days the remembrance of the birth of Jesus.  Western civilization, profoundly influenced by Christendom, has always had a recognition of the dark underside of human nature — child abuse.  Abraham was prevented from killing his son, Isaac, by God's intervention.  The story of Moses includes Pharaoh's murder of all Jewish boys.  There are numerous other Biblical references to abuse of children and the prophets often preached against the abuse and killing of children.  The history of Holy Innocents Day shows 2000 years of awareness of the ease with which we brutalize our children and the intent by the Church to stop it.

In the last twenty years our society has determined to stop the abuse of our children.  Our culture has made the most concerted, wide reaching, and forceful attempt in the history of humanity to assure that children are not abused.  This journal, Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, is in that tradition and serves that goal.  We offer a forum to those who want to use their expertise, skill, and experience in a responsible manner to work for reduction of assaults upon children and growth of an environment of justice, love, and peace for children and parents.

Throughout history the impetus for social change almost always comes first before both facts and knowledge.  The Hegelian analysis of historical process (Thesis <-> Antithesis, then Synthesis) recognizes the jagged path of our progress through time.  Little that we do is straight line, inexorable, onward and upward.  Our society's effort to deal with child abuse began in noble passion but in absence of crucial factual knowledge.  Inevitably mistakes, errors, and weaknesses in the system grew along with strengths, successes, and policies.  Only now are we beginning to catch up partially in gathering factual knowledge from which to work effectively to reduce abuse of children and strengthen the way we deal with it.

This journal aims to assist in that goal by presenting responsible scholarship from disciplines such as ethics, history, theology, and philosophy; scientifically sound and credible research from social science disciplines, i. e., psychology, sociology, social work, anthropology; and applied disciplines, i.e., medicine, law, clinical psychology, and psychiatry.

Therefore the journal can be called multi disciplinary or interdisciplinary.  Whatever term used, we see it as a place where reason, intellect, and good will can produce a variety of efforts to advance our care and caring for children.  This may include pointing to the errors and mistakes of the rush to solve the millennial problem of child abuse, sharing demonstrated facts about the reality of abuse, an exercise of reason to understand why we do such horrible things to children, and new ways for front line persons, lawyers, social workers, law enforcement, prosecutors, and mental health professionals, to respond better to accusations, victims, perpetrators, and those accused.

The journal has a point of view, ours.  We believe frank, open, honest, and reasonable discussion, while not always comfortable, offers the best way to make progress on any shared human goal.  We hope authors who may not agree with each other or with us will trust their views will be treated fairly and published by us accurately.  G. Thomas, former editor of Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, said "Anything really novel is likely to be given a hard time in the publication process."  We invite novel approaches and ideas and will reject only what is irrational or irresponsible.  We believe the concept will interest and give help to those who examine the idea at the foundation of the journal.

Hollida Wakefield, M. A.
Ralph Underwager, Ph.D.

Institute for Psychological Therapies
Minneapolis, Minnesota
January, 1989

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