Failing to address spiritual injuries stemming from child maltreatment may impair a child’s physical and mental health. At the same time, restoring a child’s spiritual health may provide a source of resiliency that improves the probability of successful life outcomes. This discussion will explore situations in which religion and child protection may conflict, and provide a synopsis of research on the spiritual impact of child abuse and neglect. An overview of how this dynamic may play out before, during, and after a forensic interview is discussed.
Although religious influence in the child protection system is waning, MDTs must be mindful of the spiritual needs of maltreated children and their families. Such a response is not only culturally sensitive, a growing a body of research suggests it may be critical to the short- and long-term welfare of abused and neglected children.