CECW Information Sheet #40E. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto, Faculty of Social Work.
There is growing debate about how to best analyze and interpret data on reported child abuse and neglect. One of the chief concerns relates to conceptualizing and analyzing unsubstantiated versus substantiated cases. While most child maltreatment researchers have tended to focus on substantiated cases of maltreatment, recent studies indicate that the distinction between substantiated and unsubstantiated cases may not be as clear as assumed and that reported maltreatment may be a more robust category than is substantiated maltreatment. A related issue that has received less attention is whether or not cases of suspected or inconclusive maltreatment should be included as substantiated.