David Finkelhor is an American sociologist known for his research into child sexual abuse and related topics. He is the director of Crimes against Children Research Center, Co-Director of the Family Research Laboratory and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire in the US, from which he received his Ph.D. in 1976.  He lives in the state of Maine with his wife and son Misha Linnehan.
He has been studying the child abuse problems of child victimization, child maltreatment and family violence since 1977. He is well known for his conceptual and empirical work on the problem of child sexual abuse, reflected in publications such as Sourcebook on Child Sexual Abuse (Sage, 1986) and Nursery Crimes (Sage, 1988).
He has also written about child homicide, missing and abducted children, children exposed to domestic and peer violence and other forms of family violence. In his recent work, for example, his book, Child Victimization (Oxford University Press, 2008), he has tried to unify and integrate knowledge about all the diverse forms of child victimization in a field he has termed Developmental Victimology. He is editor and author of 12 books and over 200 journal articles and book chapters.
He has received grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, and the US Department of Justice, and a variety of other sources. In 1994, he was given the Distinguished Child Abuse Professional Award by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, in 2004 he was given the Significant Achievement Award from the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, in 2005 he and his colleagues received the Child Maltreatment Article of the Year award, and in 2007 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology.
Finkelhor is best known for his research on child sexual abuse, a topic about which he has authored many studies, articles, and books. He has stated that he intends to continue his research until he proves "an unambiguous and persuasive case that the problem [of child sexual abuse] is widespread." According to Kenneth Plummer, he is "probably the most prominent sociologist at work in the field [of child sexual abuse.]"
- Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory and Research, p. 229
- Review of Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory and Research, in Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 14, No. 6. (Nov., 1985), pp. 712-713.