Global Report

WHO-ISPCAN Global Report - Preventing child maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence


ISPCAN Resources

Focus of this Report

Summary of contents Chapter 1 describes the phenomenon of child maltreatment and provides an overview of its scale, consequences and costs. The chapter also sets out an ecological framework for understanding susceptibility to child maltreatment in terms of causes and risk factors at the individual, close relationship, community and societal levels. Chapter 2 makes suggestions as to how to gather information that can be used to direct and monitor preventive action and service provision. Information systems that record data on child maltreatment cases seen by available services are to be distinguished from epidemiological studies using population-based survey methods to identify all cases of maltreatment, and not only those that present to the available services. At the population level, the chapter recommends that large-scale surveys of children and adults should be carried out, in which information is obtained on the children’s and adults’ exposure to maltreatment and other adverse factors, on their health-risk behaviors and on their current health status. It is suggested that service-based information systems prioritize the recording of two types of information. The first type is information that will help ensure coherent case management and the tracking of individual cases over time and between different service providers. The second is information on a relatively small number of uniform items of data that can be recorded for all cases that enter the system. Chapter 3 focuses on promoting the prevention of child maltreatment. It is argued that new prevention efforts should be designed with reference to the evidence base of effective, promising and uncertain interventions, and set up to meet the criteria for outcome evaluation studies. Prevention strategies at the individual, family, community and societal levels are described. Practical recommendations are given on how to design an intervention as an outcome evaluation study, with a table listing suggestions for possible immediate, medium-term and long-term outcomes. Chapter 4 deals with services for victims of child maltreatment and their families, as well as interventions to protect abused children. The paucity of evidence for the effectiveness of child protection services is stressed. Introduce on 5 Prevent ng child maltreatment: a guide to taking act on and generating evidence 6 Chapter 5 provides concluding comments and highlights the recommendations contained in the guide on using information for action, designing prevention programs. and providing services for victims. When a systematic response to child maltreatment is developed using these recommendations, the resulting interventions based on evidence will in turn generate further evidence about the effectiveness of prevention strategies and services for victims


Global Report Date:

December 1, 2006




Global Report on Child Maltreatment
WHO-ISPCAN Global Report - Preventing child maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence

Research Objectives:

The various sectors involved in addressing child maltreatment need to develop a common conceptual definition of child maltreatment and common operational definitions to enable case identification and enumeration. They also need to have a common statistical approach to the problem, including standard indicators for measuring rates of maltreatment and the factors that increase the risk of maltreatment
To prevent child maltreatment, policy and program measures addressing risk factors and protective factors need to be implemented.
A comprehensive response to child maltreatment involves putting into place measures and mechanisms to detect and intervene in cases of maltreatment, and to provide services to victims and families.
Information for effective action
Mechanisms to gather information through epidemiological surveys, facility-based surveillance, monitoring and evaluation must be strengthened. The information obtained should be made widely available and used to design prevention and response interventions.
Efforts to prevent child maltreatment should include activities to raise awareness among decision-makers and the public of the need for investment in evidence-based prevention program. Campaigning efforts should also focus on the adoption of non-violent social and cultural norms, especially as these relate to parenting

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