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Child Abuse and Neglect

Researching child abuse/child sexual abuse from legal, psychological, and medical perspectives.

Primary Law and Secondary Sources

Statutes, administrative regulations, and case law make up primary law and can be accessed through numerous free and subscription resources. Secondary sources are any materials that discusses the primary law and are generally available through subscription databases.

Pennsylvania Statutes

Pennsylvania statutes are a subject arrangement of the current laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Each subject is called a title, which may, in turn, consist of multiple physical volumes. Though 79 titles have been assigned, not all titles currently contain laws.

Administrative Regulations

Case Law

Case law refers to the body of primary law created by the judiciary. At the conclusion of a case, a judge may issue an opinion. Published opinions are more likely at higher levels of court. Published opinions are compiled in print volumes in chronological order.

Finding Cases Online

Finding Cases in Databases

  • Cases may be located in databases using keyword searches, citation searches, or linked through other resources. Locating cases in a database often provides access to secondary resources and citator services through annotations.
    • See Libraries Databases for Researching Law  (below)
  • Case law relating to child abuse can yield extensive results using keyword searching. Adding more specific terms, or dates, will filter results to a more manageable number for review. It is often better to locate case law in databases by first finding the specific statutes, then reading the annotations that relate directly to the statute in question. Once an on-point case is located, citator services can be used to locate additional cases that have cited the on-point case. A review of citing cases will show whether or not the on-point case is still good law or has been overturned by subsequent cases.

Libraries' Databases for Researching Law