POLICY REPORT & CASE STUDY: Intrafamilial Child Torture - A Distinct Category of Child Maltreatment




This policy report is one of a seven part series on the topic which illustrates how ICT differs from other forms of child maltreatment. An accompanying case study is also presented on this issue.


In 2020, the APSAC Center for Child Policy (CCP), operated by the Institute for Human Services, convened a panel of national experts in child maltreatment to write a paper series on Intrafamilial Child Torture- a new and emerging category of child maltreatment that is being developed theoretically for the first time. Intrafamilial Child Torture, or “ICT”, is torture inflicted on children by their parents or other caregivers. Using a think-tank model, the Center for Child Policy developed the first interdisciplinary definition of ICT and wrote a paper- “Intrafamilial Child Torture: Making the Case for a Distinct Category of Child Maltreatment”. The researchers at CCP also developed the first comprehensive case study of a child torture survivor from clinical data. This case study is the first to document longitudinal outcomes of a child survivor, from childhood to adolescence, early adulthood, and middle adulthood. This case study and our first paper are available at the links below and are open access documents that may be freely shared and used with appropriate citation (provided below).

The APSAC Center for Child Policy has two more ICT papers already in process, and in total will publish a 7 paper series- creating a theoretical foundation from which empirical studies can be developed. The next six papers cover the following topics:

  • Intrafamilial Child Torture: Sequelae and Treatment

  • Child Torturers: The Role of Psychopathy and Personality Disorders

  • Adoption & Safe Families Act (ASFA) and Intrafamilial Child Torture: Reunification Bypass in Aggravated Circumstances

  • Psychological Abuse and Solitary Confinement as Child Torture

  • Law and Law Enforcement Response to Child Torture in Families

  • Human Rights for Child Torture Victims

We encourage any professional interested in contributing to an ongoing exploration of ICT to contact us.


Download the policy report (PDF) here.


Preferred Citation for Policy Report:

Miller, P.J., Rycus, J.S, & Hughes, R.C. (2021). Intrafamilial child torture: Making the case for a distinct category of child maltreatment. American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, Center for Child Policy.


Download the case study (PDF) here.


Preferred Citation for Case Study:

Miller, P.J., Rycus, J.S, & Hughes, R.C. (2021). Case study of child survivor of intrafamilial child torture. American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, Center for Child Policy.


Watch APSAC's May 2021 presentation on Intrafamilial Child Torture: Case Studies of Investigation and Treatment presented by Pamela J. Miller, JD, MSW, LISW-S