European report on preventing child maltreatment – Relatório da OMS

Outubro 8, 2013 às 12:00 pm | Publicado em Estudos sobre a Criança, Relatório | Deixe um comentário
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Reducing child maltreatment is a mainstay of the actions required to reduce inequity in Europe and achieve the goals of Health 2020. Child abuse and neglect are a product of social, cultural, economic and biological factors and occur in all societies and countries in the WHO European Region. They are a leading cause of health inequality and social injustice, with the socioeconomically disadvantaged more at risk. Estimates suggest that at least 18 million children in the Region will suffer from maltreatment during their childhood. Most child abuse and neglect occurs in the community and may not come to the attention of child protection agencies. They are nevertheless grave public health and societal problems with far-reaching consequences for the mental, physical and reproductive health of children and for societal development. Maltreated children are at increased risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence in later life and may have poorer educational attainment and employment prospects. Maltreatment is also closely linked to other adverse childhood experiences. The consequences of such adversity may affect people throughout the life-course, with high societal costs.

Child maltreatment has long been regarded as a criminal justice and social issue and has only recently been seen in a public health perspective. This report supports the view that child maltreatment is not inevitable and that it is preventable. It endorses a public health approach and argues that prevention is more cost−effective than dealing with the consequences. Evidence indicates that organized responses by society can prevent child maltreatment. Experience accumulated in countries across the Region and worldwide shows that sustained and systematic approaches can address the underlying causes of violence and make children’s lives safer. Among these are programmes to promote positive parenting and provide welfare support to families at risk.

The report documents these evidence-informed approaches, which take a broad interdisciplinary approach that cuts across sectors. Health systems have a key role not only in providing high-quality services for children who experience violence, but also in detecting and supporting families at risk. The health sector is also best placed to advocate for preventive approaches within an evaluative framework.

Member States need to join the global effort to reduce a leading health and social problem and to create safer and more just societies for children in the Region. The prevention of maltreatment in children can only be achieved by mainstreaming responses into other areas of health and social policy. Investing in nurturing relationships would reduce the cycles of violence, improve social cohesion and represent a worthwhile investment. We at the WHO Regional Office for Europe hope that this report will provide policy-makers, practitioners and activists with the facts they need to integrate the agenda for preventing child maltreatment into health and other sectors.

Zsuzsanna Jakab

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