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Block Research Lab

Welcome to the Block Research Lab website. Here you will find information about Dr. Stephanie Block and her research as well as information on current and former students in the lab, relevant publications and events, and how to contact us. 



Research in the lab is broadly focused on children in the legal system, the effect of trauma on children's wellbeing and memory of emotional events, and the prevention of child maltreatment. Specific focus areas include: 


1) Child Maltreatment - to advance our understanding of children in at-risk environments who show resilience (e.g., healthy, adaptive, or positive functioning despite maltreatment histories) and promote research-based interventions that help prevent child maltreatment.

2) Psychology and Law - to determine the best contexts for children to participate in the legal system and to understand how well adults can evaluate child witnesses.


3) Memory for Trauma - to better understand children's memory for traumatic and emotional events.

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Latest Publications

Predictors of Prosecutorial Decisions in Reports of Child Sexual Abuse

A retrospective examination of 500 child sexual abuse reports to prosecutor’s offices analyzed case progress and predictors of attrition, including details about alleged perpetrator(s), victim(s), their families, and other case characteristics. Less than one in five cases proceeded to prosecution. For the full sample, we describe all outcomes and differentiate prosecutors’ decisions to (a) intake/close, (b) investigate/close, or (c) prosecute; these stages comprise a 3-level dependent variable. Because it is important to understand which variables are associated with progress to each stage, we examined unique predictors of the decision to “investigate,” and to “prosecute.” Our multivariate analyses examine 325 cases with a perpetrator aged 16 and older. Caregiver support and perpetrator age were significant predictors across all outcome variables, while other factors were barriers to the “prosecute” decision only. Results highlight the complexities of case characteristics that are important at different stages of prosecutorial decision-making and inform future interventions.

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