Professionals’ Digital Training for Child Maltreatment Prevention in the COVID-19 Era: A Pan-European Model
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Design
2.2. ERICA Learning Framework Content
2.3. Adaptation to an E-Learning Mode and Qualitative Framework
“People disconnected and reconnected repeatedly during the training session.”
“The problem of dividing people into groups was connected with the low technical abilities of the participants. Some of them didn’t deal with the selected digital platform earlier and had many difficulties.”
“We did have a problem with the videos, but trainees watched them individually on their PCs. The fact that trainees couldn’t join the breakout rooms due to the lack of experience or using Teams, or them joining us via telephone or iPad, was addressed by allowing those trainees to stay in the main meeting room and calling in a new breakout room.”
“Interaction among participants and between participants and trainers were limited, especially more “informal” interactions in breaks etc., which usually lead to a more familiar work atmosphere during face-to-face trainings.”
“The participants had many questions and a great will to share their experience to discuss and also to talk to the trainer about their experience. The trainer is a very experienced and open specialist so I think it was an important factor that participants were so active. There was more activity between trainer and trainees.”
“Because of the quality of the content and the fact that trainers were together in the same room and not at home made the training session successful.”
“Having chat box was incredibly beneficial during the training, as each trainee was able to raise points that were then discussed by the trainers. This increased trainer and trainee interaction.”
“Small group activities allowed a level of privacy that being in the same room would have not allowed. This was particularly important when some of the trainees decided to reveal their own personal stories of maltreatment that they did not feel comfortable mentioning the whole group.”
“Different advantages were related to the use of a digital platform (trainees in remote geographical locations, or trainees who had to be at work during the training session), which increased the attendance. However, there was a lack of human communication and relaxation during the breaks because it was done online.”
“No possibility to change. In the fields where the professionals stemmed from, Zoom is more used than Teams or other digital platforms”.
“Because of the pandemic situation and the home office, people were tired with online working. They told us they needed personal contact and would be more happy with that form of the training.”
4.1. Strengths and Weaknesses of the ERICA Digital Training
4.2. Recommendations from the ERICA Novel E-Learning Framework
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
|1. Introduction|| Description of the main purpose of the training.|
Understanding the structure of the course, the modules, and how they can work through the material.
Understanding how to give feedback, discuss points, clarify something that is not clear.
|2. Child development and consequences of maltreatment||Overview of theories of prenatal, infant and child development (intellectual, emotional, physical, psychological).|
How different types of maltreatment can influence development.
More critical and sensitive periods to maltreatment and other heterogeneities to be taken into account.
|3. Early signs of maltreatment and neglect||Common recognizable signs of maltreatment in children at different developmental stages.|
Typical signs of certain types of abuse.
Distinguish between normal phases of development and what may reveal a problem.
Understanding that various forms of maltreatment may intersect, and signs may be complex to identify.
|4. Risk factors||Family and parent/guardian risk factors (e.g., intergenerational issues, mental health, substance misuse).|
How risk factors can manifest in parenting practices.
Differences/heterogeneity in risk factors across contexts, including cultural differences in parenting practices.
|5. Risk assessment tools||Feel confident in using some common risk assessment tools for different kinds of child maltreatment.|
Difficulties of generalising checklists across contexts.
Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of risk assessment tools and use them with a critical perspective.
|6. Intervention techniques and skills||Be able to judge the appropriateness of interventions with the children and their families and know how to interact with other agencies.|
Become confident to use some common intervention techniques that are suitable for different situations.
Learn techniques to effectively engage with families.
Be able to provide support at key vulnerability points in children’s lives.
|7. Protective factors||Be aware of various protective factors for different kinds of child maltreatment covering family and parenting characteristics, socio-demographic factors, ethnicity and cultural factors, large social networks, and wider protective structures (e.g., inter-agency working, child engaging in different non home contexts).|
Reflect on whether these protective characteristics are amenable to intervention.
|8. Syndemic responses to global pandemic||Have knowledge about how pandemic responses can exacerbate existing risk in families.|
Feel confident about spotting and assessing possible maltreatment in the era of physical distancing and how inter-agency working evolves.
How engagement with children and families can be adapted, maintained, and evolve through new means such as technology development.
|9. Evaluation||How the learner used the material.|
What was useful and what was less useful.
What they missed and needed more of.
Impressions on mode of delivery (e.g., slides, videos, live workshops etc.).
Whether they felt if it was well adapted to their local context.
|Question||Type of Answer (Open-Ended, Dichotomous, Multiple Choice)||Responding Centers (No.)|
|Part 1/3—Technical problems|
|1. During the first ERICA training did you have any technical problems with the digital platform?||Dichotomous||7|
|2. Did the same problems arise in the second ERICA training?||Dichotomous||7|
|3. If you answered no, were they primarily: Audio Problems, Image problems, Network Disconnection, or Trouble broadcasting videos?||Multiple choice||5|
|4. Did this problem interrupt significantly the session?||Dichotomous||6|
|5. Were you forced to change or cancel parts of the lesson because of technical problems? (e.g., not show a video, not do a group activity…)||Dichotomous||7|
|6. Please list and comment any other technical problems that come to mind.||Open-ended||5|
1. Which of the following sentences better describes interaction during your training?
|2. Please add a brief comment on interaction in the training||Open-ended||7|
|3. Were you able to do small-working group activities?||Dichotomous||7|
|4. Do you think small-group activities worked well despite the digital setting?||Dichotomous||7|
|5. Why do you think small group activities worked well?||Open-ended||5|
|6. Was the trainer asked questions on the contents of the training?||Dichotomous||7|
|7. Did the trainees know each other?||Dichotomous||7|
|8. Were the trainees co-workers?||Dichotomous||7|
|9. Please briefly describe the background of the trainees (how were they recruited, what was the connection between the partner and the trainees…)||Open-ended||7|
|10. Did you feel like the participants were more active (cognitively more present, more attentive, felt more responsible…) in the training compared to how trainings not on digital platforms usually are, in your experience?||Dichotomous||7|
|11. In which training session was interaction better?||Multiple choice||6|
|12. In which module do you feel like there was more interaction?||Multiple choice||7|
|13. How was the chat used?||Open-ended||5|
|14. Please list and comment any other problems with interaction that come to mind.||Open-ended||7|
|1. Did the digital platform influence the duration and the temporal organization of the training?||Dichotomous||7|
|2. What platform did you use?||Multiple choice||7|
|3. Did your center or university suggest the platform?||Dichotomous||7|
|4. Were you sufficiently satisfied with the platform?||Dichotomous||7|
|5. Did you change digital platform between cohort 1 and cohort 2?||Dichotomous||5|
|6. Was the change due to technical or organizational problems?||Dichotomous||3|
|7. Did you provide trainees with any organized asynchronous activity (e.g., videos to watch home, extra material to look at before or after the training)?||Dichotomous||7|
|8. Please list and comment any other problems with organization that come to mind.||Open-ended||3|
|9. General comments on Training on a Digital Platform||Open-ended||4|
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|ERICA Key Topic||Description|
|Child development||Focus on neurodevelopmental and psychopathological consequences of abuse for children and adolescents.|
|Early signs of maltreatment||Focus on knowledge about early signs of sexual abuse as well as emotional abuse and neglect, including prenatal neglect.|
|Risk and protective factors||Individual and family characteristics that may influence child safeguarding concerns, also involving considerations about disadvantaged communities and cultural/ethnic differences in terms of family life, coping strategies and parenting practices.|
|Risk assessment tools||Encompassing assessment techniques used where there are potential safeguarding concerns.|
|Potential interventions to tackle|
|Professionals’ intervention skills in different settings, e.g., when talking to an abusive parent; when supporting the whole family; when approaching the child of a specific age group.|
|1. Technology||1.1 Internet connection||1.1.1 Stability|
|1.2 Technical abilities||1.2.1 Individual expertise|
|1.2.2 Data stream sharing|
|1.3 Trainer’s role||1.3.1 Type of individual account|
|1.3.2 Grouping issues|
|2. Interaction||2.1 Contextual factors||2.1.1 Location/environment|
|2.1.2 Digital tools|
|2.1.3 Atmosphere (formal/informal)|
|2.1.4 Training advertisement|
|2.2 Individual characteristics||2.2.1 Participant characteristics & profession|
|2.2.2 Trainers’ team skills|
|2.2.3 Trainers’ skills in engaging participants|
|2.2.4 Trainers’ skills in technical expertise (participants’ needs in terms of technical assistance)|
|2.3 Group issues||2.3.1 Size|
|2.3.2 Contents recollection|
|3. Organization||3.1 Timing||3.1.1 Schedule and breaks|
|3.2 Digital settings||3.2.1 Type of platform|
|3.2.2 Institutional mandatory requirements|
|3.2.3 Trainers synergy|
|3.3 Pandemic issues||3.3.1 Current circumstances and restrictions|
|3.3.2 Online working|
|3.3.3 Personal contact and communication|
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Crocamo, C.; Bachi, B.; Cioni, R.M.; Schecke, H.; Nieminen, I.; Zabłocka-Żytka, L.; Woźniak-Prus, M.; Bartoli, F.; Riboldi, I.; Appleton, J.V.; Bekaert, S.; Zlatkute, G.; Jouet, E.; Viganò, G.; Specka, M.; Scherbaum, N.; Paavilainen, E.; Baldacchino, A.; Carrà, G. Professionals’ Digital Training for Child Maltreatment Prevention in the COVID-19 Era: A Pan-European Model. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 885. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020885
Crocamo C, Bachi B, Cioni RM, Schecke H, Nieminen I, Zabłocka-Żytka L, Woźniak-Prus M, Bartoli F, Riboldi I, Appleton JV, Bekaert S, Zlatkute G, Jouet E, Viganò G, Specka M, Scherbaum N, Paavilainen E, Baldacchino A, Carrà G. Professionals’ Digital Training for Child Maltreatment Prevention in the COVID-19 Era: A Pan-European Model. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(2):885. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020885Chicago/Turabian Style
Crocamo, Cristina, Bianca Bachi, Riccardo M. Cioni, Henrike Schecke, Irja Nieminen, Lidia Zabłocka-Żytka, Małgorzata Woźniak-Prus, Francesco Bartoli, Ilaria Riboldi, Jane V. Appleton, Sarah Bekaert, Giedre Zlatkute, Emmanuelle Jouet, Giovanni Viganò, Michael Specka, Norbert Scherbaum, Eija Paavilainen, Alexander Baldacchino, and Giuseppe Carrà. 2022. "Professionals’ Digital Training for Child Maltreatment Prevention in the COVID-19 Era: A Pan-European Model" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 2: 885. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020885