Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Child Maltreatment Prevention: A Systematic Review of reviews/Prevention De la Maltraitance Chez L'enfant: Revue Systematique Des revues/Prevencion del Maltrato Infantil: Revision Sistematica De Las Revisiones

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Child Maltreatment Prevention: A Systematic Review of reviews/Prevention De la Maltraitance Chez L'enfant: Revue Systematique Des revues/Prevencion del Maltrato Infantil: Revision Sistematica De Las Revisiones

Article excerpt

Introduction

Child maltreatment prevention is poised to become a global health priority due to four main factors. First, retrospective and prospective studies have established that child maltreatment has strong, long-lasting effects on brain architecture, psychological functioning, mental health, health risk behaviours, social functioning, life expectancy and health-care costs. (1,2) Second, the full implications of these effects on human capital formation, the workforce, and, ultimately, social and economic development in low-, middle- and high-income countries are now better understood. (3,4) Third, epidemiological studies have clearly established that child maltreatment is not peculiar to the West but a truly global phenomenon that occurs in some low-and middle-income countries at higher rates than in wealthier countries. (5,6) Fourth, evidence strongly suggests that treating and later trying to remedy the effects of child maltreatment are both less effective and more costly than preventing it in the first place. (7) Despite this, epidemiological data on and policies and programmes against child maltreatment are conspicuously lacking in most low- and middle-income countries, and in high-income countries, such as the United States of America (USA), investment in child protection systems continues to outweigh prevention budgets. (8)

This systematic review of reviews of the effectiveness of child maltreatment prevention interventions aims to add to existing reviews by:

* providing an up-to-date synthesis of recent evidence;

* evaluating the quality of the systematic reviews included;

* assessing the methodological quality of the outcome evaluations included in the reviews;

* mapping the geographical distribution of the studies included in the reviews.

Methods

The following English and non-English language electronic databases were searched by one reviewer, with no language restrictions: Medline, PsychINFO, Embase, CINAHL, Social Sciences Citation Index, Science Citation Index, LILACS, ERIC, NCJRS, the Campbell Library, the Cochrane Library, WorldWideScience, KoreaMed, IndMED, and Google. In addition, reference lists of review articles and the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect were searched, and 10 international experts were consulted. For inclusion, reviews had to evaluate the effectiveness of "universal interventions" (those aimed at the general population without regard to risk) or "selective interventions" (those aimed at people at higher risk), but not "indicated interventions" (those carried out once child maltreatment has already occurred); be published between January 2000 and July 2008; be either systematic or comprehensive (i.e. covering a wide range of relevant studies); and include at least one of the following outcomes: physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, or emotional abuse perpetrated by a parent or caretaker against a child (bullying and witnessing intimate partner violence were excluded). Only easily accessible reviews were included (i.e. published in a peer-reviewed journal, a book, or online), since the aim was to focus on reviews with a wide influence on policy and practice. Hence, less easily accessible grey literature, such as theses and dissertations, conference proceedings and reviews that were neither published nor available online, was excluded. Full details of the search strategy and of inclusion and exclusion criteria, as well as a list of the studies excluded, are available from the authors.

A second reviewer independently screened 25% of the studies identified and previously screened by the first reviewer. Both reviewers assessed the full text of all reviews in light of the inclusion criteria. Uncertainties were discussed and consensus was reached in all cases.

Evidence for the effectiveness of each main type of intervention was graded independently by two reviewers (Table 1) (9-34) with an adaptation of a pre-existing system, (35) and there were no disagreements. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.