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Child Maltreatment: New Frontiers in Prevention, Response, and Resilience

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Children's Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 November 2022) | Viewed by 32808

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Departments of Community Health Sciences & Psychiatry, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3E 0W3, Canada
Interests: epidemiology of child maltreatment; childhood adversity; resilience; mental health promotion; psychiatric epidemiology; prevention

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Social Work & Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3E 0W3, Canada
Interests: prevention of child maltreatment; corporal punishment; discipline; risk and protective factors; parenting in diverse contexts; implementation science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Child maltreatment, including physical abuse and neglect, emotional abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, exposure to intimate partner violence (domestic violence), and corporal punishment, is a global public health and child rights crisis. Prior to the pandemic, the World Health Organization (2020) estimated that one billion children—or one out of two children—worldwide suffer some form of violence each year. As a result of the pandemic, children and youth have faced an increased risk of being harmed, due to social isolation and overcrowding, financial and resource insecurity, increased parental stress, and mental health challenges. While there is a robust body of literature detailing the serious and life-long health, social, and economic consequences associated with child maltreatment, there remains a need to better understand how to prevent child maltreatment, how best to respond to child maltreatment, and how to foster resilience in children and families with a history of child maltreatment.

The goal of this Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) is to advance research and knowledge in the field of child maltreatment specific to prevention, response, and resilience. Innovative and novel research and practice-orientated manuscripts from diverse disciplines will be given priority for this Special Issue. Manuscripts with and without a pandemic focus are welcome, as are manuscripts addressing methodological perspectives and assessment of child maltreatment and resilience.

Prof. Dr. Tracie Afifi
Dr. Ashley Stewart-Tufescu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • child maltreatment
  • childhood adversity
  • resilience
  • parenting
  • prevention strategies
  • responding to child maltreatment
  • child wellbeing
  • mental health promotion
  • child protection
  • child welfare
  • parent/caregiver supports

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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20 pages, 444 KiB  
Article
Impacts of the Attachment and Child Health (ATTACHTM) Parenting Program on Mothers and Their Children at Risk of Maltreatment: Phase 2 Results
by Nicole Letourneau, Lubna Anis, Jason Novick, Carrie Pohl, Henry Ntanda and Martha Hart
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 3078; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043078 - 09 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1968
Abstract
Early adversity (e.g., family violence, parental depression, low income) places children at risk for maltreatment and negatively impacts developmental outcomes. Optimal parental reflective function (RF), defined as the parent’s ability to think about and identify thoughts, feelings, and mental states in themselves and [...] Read more.
Early adversity (e.g., family violence, parental depression, low income) places children at risk for maltreatment and negatively impacts developmental outcomes. Optimal parental reflective function (RF), defined as the parent’s ability to think about and identify thoughts, feelings, and mental states in themselves and in their children, is linked to secure attachment and may protect against suboptimal outcomes. We present the results of Phase 2 randomized control trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental studies (QES) of the Attachment and Child Health (ATTACHTM) parental RF intervention for families with children at risk for maltreatment. Phase 2 parents experiencing adversity, along with their children aged 0–5 years (n = 45), received the 10–12-week ATTACHTM intervention. Building on completed Phase 1 pilot data, Phase 2 examined outcomes of long-standing interest, including parental RF and child development, as well as new outcomes, including parental perceived social support and executive function, and children’s behavior, sleep, and executive function. RCTs and QES revealed significant improvements in parents’ RF, perception of social support, and executive function, children’s development (i.e., communication, problem-solving, personal–social, and fine motor skills), and a decrease in children’s sleep and behavioral problems (i.e., anxiety/depression, attention problems, aggressive behavior, and externalizing problems), post-intervention. ATTACH™ positively impacts parental RF to prevent negative impacts on children at risk of maltreatment. Full article
10 pages, 321 KiB  
Article
Preventing Punitive Violence: Implementing Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting (PDEP) with Marginalized Populations in Bangladesh
by Christine A. Ateah, Laila Khondkar, Firozul Milon and Rasheda Rabbani
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 1873; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20031873 - 19 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1560
Abstract
Physical and other types of punishment remain common in Bangladesh, despite overwhelming evidence of their harm and worldwide efforts to decrease their use. One of the strategic priorities of Save the Children in Bangladesh’s Child Protection Program is to protect children from physical [...] Read more.
Physical and other types of punishment remain common in Bangladesh, despite overwhelming evidence of their harm and worldwide efforts to decrease their use. One of the strategic priorities of Save the Children in Bangladesh’s Child Protection Program is to protect children from physical and humiliating punishment in homes, schools, and other settings. Save the Children in Bangladesh selected the Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting (PDEP) Program to provide parents with alternatives to physical punishment that comply with human rights standards while strengthening relationships and understanding of child development. High-risk communities where children are particularly vulnerable were selected for this project. The PDEP program was delivered to 857 parents living in lower socioeconomic areas of Bangladesh, including ethnic minority groups, and parents living in urban slums of Dhaka and rural brothel areas. Due to the low levels of education of the participants (almost two-thirds of participants had not completed elementary school), simplified pre and posttests were utilized. Following program completion, parents’ approval of both physical punishment and punishment in general declined; they were less likely to view typical parent-child conflicts as intentional misbehavior and were less reactive to frustration. In addition, parents indicated an increased understanding of the positive discipline and more confidence in their parenting skills. Before taking PDEP, 64% of the parents often felt like they just did not know what to do as a parent, compared to 34% following program completion. PDEP demonstrated the potential to decrease the use of physical and humiliating punishments by parents living in high-risk communities in Bangladesh. Full article
15 pages, 785 KiB  
Article
Childhood Prevalence of Involvement with the Child Protection System in Quebec: A Longitudinal Study
by Tonino Esposito, Johanna Caldwell, Martin Chabot, Anne Blumenthal, Nico Trocmé, Barbara Fallon, Sonia Hélie and Tracie O. Afifi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(1), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20010622 - 29 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1948
Abstract
The goal of this study, the first of its kind in Canada, was to estimate the child lifetime prevalence of child protection involvement in Quebec. Using administrative and population data spanning 17 years, we performed a survival analysis of initial incidents of child [...] Read more.
The goal of this study, the first of its kind in Canada, was to estimate the child lifetime prevalence of child protection involvement in Quebec. Using administrative and population data spanning 17 years, we performed a survival analysis of initial incidents of child protection reports, confirmed reports, confirmation of a child’s security or development being compromised, and placement outside the home for one day or more. We found that before reaching the age of 18 years, over 18% of children were reported to child protection at least once, one in every ten children (10.1%) in the province had a report that led to the finding of their security or development being compromised, and over 5% were placed outside the home. We found that neglect was a primary concern in close to half (47.6%) of cases. By using a full population dataset, we obtained a more accurate prevalence estimate than studies using synthetic cohort life tables. These findings only captured initial incidents of involvement with child protection, meaning this study does not show the extent of recurrent involvement for some children. The findings reflect prior results showing that neglect is common in initial child protection involvement but less pervasive than has been shown in incidence studies, suggesting that recurrent child protection involvement is more driven by neglect than initial incidents are. Full article
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16 pages, 849 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of a Trauma-Informed Parenting Program for Resource Parents
by Lauren Stenason and Elisa Romano
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16981; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416981 - 17 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2196
Abstract
Child maltreatment impacts many young people involved in the child welfare system, and it is important that the resource parents supporting these youth have knowledge and skills in trauma-informed care. The current study is a preliminary evaluation of the Resource Parent Curriculum (RPC), [...] Read more.
Child maltreatment impacts many young people involved in the child welfare system, and it is important that the resource parents supporting these youth have knowledge and skills in trauma-informed care. The current study is a preliminary evaluation of the Resource Parent Curriculum (RPC), an in-service, 8-module, group-based parenting program developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Youth and caregiver outcomes were examined by way of a quasi-experimental design that included 22 resource parents in the experimental group and 21 in the waitlist control group and involved baseline, post-program, and 2-month follow-up assessments. For learning outcomes, RPC resulted in improvements in resource parents’ knowledge and beliefs about trauma-informed parenting. While not statistically significant, potential effects included improvements in resource parents’ tolerance of challenging youth behaviors and parenting self-efficacy. For behavioral outcomes, several non-significant potential effects were noted, including improvements in resource parents’ attachment relationships with their youth and increased social supports. This study was the first to evaluate RPC using a quasi-experimental design within a Canadian context and through a virtual delivery. Findings highlighted several benefits of the program and resource parents’ ongoing training needs. Full article
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9 pages, 907 KiB  
Article
Survey on Reporting of Child Abuse by Pediatricians: Intrapersonal Inconsistencies Influence Reporting Behavior More than Legislation
by Oliver Berthold, Vera Clemens, Benjamin H. Levi, Marion Jarczok, Jörg M. Fegert and Andreas Jud
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(23), 15568; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192315568 - 23 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1704
Abstract
Background: Internationally, various laws govern reporting of child abuse to child protection services by medical professionals. Whether mandatory reporting laws are in place or not, medical professionals need internal thresholds for suspicion of abuse to even consider a report (“reasonable suspicion” in [...] Read more.
Background: Internationally, various laws govern reporting of child abuse to child protection services by medical professionals. Whether mandatory reporting laws are in place or not, medical professionals need internal thresholds for suspicion of abuse to even consider a report (“reasonable suspicion” in US law, “gewichtige Anhaltspunkte” in German law). Objective: To compare internal thresholds for suspicion of abuse among US and German pediatricians, i.e., from two countries with and without mandatory reporting laws. Participants and Setting: In Germany, 1581 pediatricians participated in a nationwide survey among child health professionals. In the US, a survey was mailed to all Pennsylvania pediatricians, and 1249 participated. Methods: Both samples were asked how high in their rank order of differential diagnoses child abuse would have to be when confronted with a child’s injuries to qualify for reasonable suspicion/gewichtige Anhaltspunkte (differential diagnosis scale, DDS). In a second step, both had to mark a 10-point likelihood scale (0–100%) corresponding to reasonable suspicion/gewichtige Anhaltspunkte (estimated probability scale, EPS). Results: While for almost two-thirds of German pediatricians (62.4%), child abuse had to be among the top three differential diagnoses for gewichtige Anhaltspunkte, over half of the US respondents (48.1%) had a lower threshold for reasonable suspicion. On the estimated probability scale, over 65% in both samples indicated that the probability of abuse had to exceed 50% for reasonable suspicion/gewichtige Anhaltspunkte. There was great variability between the two countries. Conclusions: There are similar uncertainties in assessing cases of suspected child abuse in different legal systems. There is a need for debates on thresholds among medical professionals in both countries. Full article
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11 pages, 332 KiB  
Article
Concerns about Household Violence during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Dawn-Li Blair, Margot Shields and Lil Tonmyr
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(22), 14633; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192214633 - 08 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1362
Abstract
Evidence about how the pandemic affected household violence in Canada is mixed, but inarguably, the risk factors increased. This study used data from the 2020 Canadian Perspective Survey Series and the 2020 and 2021 Surveys of COVID-19 and Mental Health to examine the [...] Read more.
Evidence about how the pandemic affected household violence in Canada is mixed, but inarguably, the risk factors increased. This study used data from the 2020 Canadian Perspective Survey Series and the 2020 and 2021 Surveys of COVID-19 and Mental Health to examine the following: changes in the prevalence of concern about violence in individuals’ own homes during the pandemic; the characteristics of those who expressed concern; and the prevalence of concerns for specific household members. Among Canadians, the prevalence of concern about violence in individuals’ own homes decreased significantly between July and Fall 2020 (5.8% to 4.2%). Among women, the characteristics that were significantly associated with higher adjusted odds of concern about household violence included larger household size and lower household income. Lower education among women was associated with lower adjusted odds of concern. The associations with higher adjusted odds of concern among men included: being an immigrant, larger household size, and lower household income. From Fall 2020 to Spring 2021, the prevalence of concerns for oneself and for a child/children increased (1.7% to 2.5% and 1.0% to 2.5%, respectively), but concern for other adults in the household decreased (1.9% to 1.2%). Ongoing surveillance is needed to understand vulnerable populations’ exposure to household violence and to inform policies and programs. Full article
16 pages, 2528 KiB  
Article
Latent Classes of Adverse and Benevolent Childhood Experiences in a Multinational Sample of Parents and Their Relation to Parent, Child, and Family Functioning during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Dylan Johnson, Dillon T. Browne, Robert D. Meade, Heather Prime and Mark Wade
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(20), 13581; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192013581 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1907
Abstract
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are known to contribute to later mental health. Conversely, Benevolent Childhood Experiences (BCEs) may buffer against mental health difficulties. The importance of ACEs and BCEs for mental health of both parents and children may be most obvious during periods [...] Read more.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are known to contribute to later mental health. Conversely, Benevolent Childhood Experiences (BCEs) may buffer against mental health difficulties. The importance of ACEs and BCEs for mental health of both parents and children may be most obvious during periods of stress, with potential consequences for functioning of the family. Subgroups of ACEs and BCEs in parents during the COVID-19 pandemic were investigated and validated in relation to indices of parent, child, and family well-being. In May 2020, ACEs/BCEs were assessed in 547 parents of 5–18-year-old children from the U.K., U.S., Canada, and Australia. Subgroups of parents with varying levels of ACEs and BCEs were identified via latent class analysis. The subgroups were validated by examining associations between class membership and indices of parent and child mental health and family well-being. Four latent classes were identified: low-ACEs/high-BCEs, moderate-ACEs/high-BCEs, moderate-ACEs/low-BCEs, and high-ACEs/moderate-BCEs. Regardless of the extent of BCEs, there was an increased risk of parent and child mental health difficulties and family dysfunction among those reporting moderate-to-high levels of ACEs. Parents’ history of adversity may influence the mental health of their family. These findings highlight the importance of public health interventions for preventing early-life adversity. Full article
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14 pages, 1185 KiB  
Article
Gender Inequality in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Associations with Parental Physical Abuse and Moderation by Child Gender
by Julie Ma, Andrew C. Grogan-Kaylor, Shawna J. Lee, Kaitlin P. Ward and Garrett T. Pace
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 11928; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191911928 - 21 Sep 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3406
Abstract
Gender inequality perpetuates women’s economic insecurity and a culture of violence. Parental distress caused by economic pressure may increase violence against children. High levels of gender inequality and interpersonal violence may contribute to higher levels of physical abuse. Using an ecological perspective, this [...] Read more.
Gender inequality perpetuates women’s economic insecurity and a culture of violence. Parental distress caused by economic pressure may increase violence against children. High levels of gender inequality and interpersonal violence may contribute to higher levels of physical abuse. Using an ecological perspective, this study examines the association of country-level gender inequality and household-level parental physical abuse, and the moderating role of child gender in this association in low- and middle-income countries. We used data on over 420,000 households from the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys and country-level indicators from the United Nations Development Program Human Development data. We employed multilevel logistic regression to examine the association between gender inequality with the log-odds of physical abuse after accounting for country- and individual-level covariates. In order to more fully explore our results, we calculated predicted probabilities of abuse for several scenarios. The results indicated that higher levels of gender inequality were associated with higher probabilities of physical abuse. This association was stronger for female children than for male children. The probabilities of abuse by child gender were indistinguishable, although rates of physical abuse converged as gender inequality increased, at a statistically marginal level. These findings indicate that macro-level interventions that reduce gender inequality are necessary to prevent and reduce child physical abuse. Full article
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21 pages, 1122 KiB  
Article
The Apapacho Violence Prevention Parenting Program: Conceptual Foundations and Pathways to Scale
by Jorge Cuartas, Helen Baker-Henningham, Andrés Cepeda, Catalina Rey-Guerra and Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF) Early Childhood Team
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8582; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148582 - 14 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1986
Abstract
Violence against children (VAC) is a major global issue with long-lasting negative consequences on individuals and societies. The present study presents a review of the literature on drivers of VAC and the core components of evidence-based violence prevention programs. Moreover, it analyzes the [...] Read more.
Violence against children (VAC) is a major global issue with long-lasting negative consequences on individuals and societies. The present study presents a review of the literature on drivers of VAC and the core components of evidence-based violence prevention programs. Moreover, it analyzes the existing services and social infrastructure in Colombia to rigorously inform the design of the Apapacho violence prevention parenting program for families with children younger than five targeted toward Colombia. Findings indicate that (1) VAC in Colombia is a multidimensional issue with roots at the individual, family, community, and society levels, (2) evidence-based violence prevention programs share a common set of content and delivery strategies that could inform the components of the Apapacho program, and (3) there is an urgent need for scalable and flexible violence prevention programs for families with young children in Colombia. Considering existing evidence, the Apapacho violence prevention parenting program will be designed using ecological, developmental, and neuroscience-informed perspectives. This article concludes by presenting the initial components of the theory of change and discussing future directions for the design of the Apapacho program and other violence prevention interventions in LMICs. Full article
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16 pages, 385 KiB  
Article
A Qualitative Description of Resident Physicians’ Understanding of Child Maltreatment: Impacts, Recognition, and Response
by Megan Laupacis, Anita Acai, Harriet L. MacMillan, Meredith Vanstone, Donna Stewart, Gina Dimitropoulos and Melissa Kimber
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3319; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063319 - 11 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2238
Abstract
Child maltreatment (CM) is a public health problem with devastating effects on individuals, families, and communities. Resident physicians have varied formal education in CM, and report feeling inadequately trained in identifying and responding to CM. The purpose of this study is to explore [...] Read more.
Child maltreatment (CM) is a public health problem with devastating effects on individuals, families, and communities. Resident physicians have varied formal education in CM, and report feeling inadequately trained in identifying and responding to CM. The purpose of this study is to explore residents’ understanding of the impacts of CM, and their perceptions of their role in recognizing and responding to CM to better understand their educational needs. This study analyzed qualitative data obtained from a larger project on family violence education. Twenty-nine resident physicians enrolled in pediatric, family medicine, emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and psychiatry training programs in Alberta, Ontario, and Québec participated in semi-structured interviews to elicit their ideas, experiences, and educational needs relating to CM. Conventional (inductive) content analysis guided the development of codes and categories. Residents had thorough knowledge about the impacts of CM and their duty to recognize CM, but there was less consistency in how residents understood their role in responding to CM. Residents identified the need for more education about recognizing and responding to CM, and the need for educational content to be responsive to training, patient and family factors, and systemic issues. Despite knowledge about the impacts of CM and laws pertaining to mandated reporting, residents reported challenges with responding to concerns of CM. Findings of this study emphasize the need for better training in response to CM. Future educational interventions should consider a multidisciplinary, experiential approach. Full article

Review

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16 pages, 693 KiB  
Review
Child Maltreatment Reporting Practices by a Person Most Knowledgeable for Children and Youth: A Rapid Scoping Review
by Ashley Stewart-Tufescu, Isabel Garces-Davila, Samantha Salmon, Katerina V. Pappas, Julie-Anne McCarthy, Tamara Taillieu, Sonya Gill and Tracie O. Afifi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16481; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416481 - 08 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1070
Abstract
Child maltreatment is a global public health and child rights crisis made worse by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While understanding the breadth of the child maltreatment crisis is foundational to informing prevention and response efforts, determining accurate estimates of child maltreatment remains challenging. [...] Read more.
Child maltreatment is a global public health and child rights crisis made worse by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While understanding the breadth of the child maltreatment crisis is foundational to informing prevention and response efforts, determining accurate estimates of child maltreatment remains challenging. Alternative informants (parents, caregivers, a Person Most Knowledgeable—PMK) are often tasked with reporting on children’s maltreatment experiences in surveys to mitigate concerns associated with reporting child maltreatment. The overall purpose of this study was to examine child maltreatment reporting practices in surveys by PMKs for children and youth. The research question is: “What is the nature of the evidence of child maltreatment reporting practices in general population surveys by PMKs for children and youth?” A rapid scoping review was conducted to achieve the study’s purpose. A search strategy was conducted in nine databases (e.g., MEDLINE, EBSCO, Scopus, Global Health, ProQuest). The findings from this review indicate that most studies involved PMK informants (i.e., maternal caregivers), included representative samples from primarily Western contexts, and utilized validated measures to assess child maltreatment. Half of the studies assessed involved multi-informant reports, including the PMKs and child/youth. Overall, the congruence between PMK-reported and child/youth-reported child maltreatment experiences was low-to-fair/moderate, and children/youth reported more maltreatment than the PMKs. Full article
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24 pages, 1017 KiB  
Review
Child Welfare Reform: A Scoping Review
by Jill R. McTavish, Christine McKee, Masako Tanaka and Harriet L. MacMillan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(21), 14071; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192114071 - 28 Oct 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3556
Abstract
While there have been ongoing calls to reform child welfare so that it better meets children’s and families’ needs, to date there have been no comprehensive summaries of child welfare reform strategies. For this systematic scoping review, we summarized authors’ recommendations for improving [...] Read more.
While there have been ongoing calls to reform child welfare so that it better meets children’s and families’ needs, to date there have been no comprehensive summaries of child welfare reform strategies. For this systematic scoping review, we summarized authors’ recommendations for improving child welfare. We conducted a systematic search (2010 to 2021) and included published reviews that addressed authors’ recommendations for improving child welfare for children, youth, and families coming into contact with child welfare in high-income countries. A total of 4758 records was identified by the systematic search, 685 full-text articles were screened for eligibility, and 433 reviews were found to be eligible for this scoping review. Reviews were theoretically divided, with some review authors recommending reform efforts at the macro level (e.g., addressing poverty) and others recommending reform efforts at the practice level (e.g., implementing evidence-based parenting programs). Reform efforts across socioecological levels were summarized in this scoping review. An important next step is to formulate what policy solutions are likely to lead to the greatest improvement in safety and well-being for children and families involved in child welfare. Full article
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Other

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15 pages, 360 KiB  
Commentary
Ending the Social Normalization of Violence against Children in Canada: A Framework, Rationale, and Appeal to Canadian Faith Leaders
by Valerie Michaelson and Ron Ensom
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 17016; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192417016 - 18 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1183
Abstract
Corporal punishment remains the most common form of violence against children in Canada. Along with being legally permitted, it is made socially acceptable through cultural and social norms often disguised as discipline. Paraphrases of Judeo-Christian sacred texts such as “spare the rod; spoil [...] Read more.
Corporal punishment remains the most common form of violence against children in Canada. Along with being legally permitted, it is made socially acceptable through cultural and social norms often disguised as discipline. Paraphrases of Judeo-Christian sacred texts such as “spare the rod; spoil the child” have been widely used to justify corporal punishment, and to create norms around the idea that it is a god-given responsibility of parents to inflict corporal punishment on their children “for their own good.” Corporal punishment is then not only an acceptable part of raising children but can be a godly duty. Though Canada is a secular country, this social norm provides a moral hegemony under which violence becomes the status quo and has proven very difficult to change. In this commentary, we outline the ways that Christian religion has contributed to social norms around corporal punishment. We then argue that religious leaders have an opportunity—and moral responsibility—to contribute to change. We conclude with insights from social norms theory and offer evidence-based recommendations for ways forward that could help shift attitudes around corporal punishment in order to decrease its prevalence and harm. While each of these issues has been written about extensively in isolation, this commentary offers an analysis of these matters together under one umbrella. By making this relationship between Christianity and the social norms that propagate corporal punishment more visible, we draw attention to the role leaders in Christian churches could play in disrupting the social acceptance of violence against our youngest Canadian citizens. We provide a practical and evidence-based framework, rationale, and appeal to Canadian faith leaders to use their influence to add momentum to a critical health, rights—and religion—issue in Canada. Full article
16 pages, 397 KiB  
Commentary
Child Maltreatment and Intimate Partner Violence in Mental Health Settings
by Jill R. McTavish, Prabha S. Chandra, Donna E. Stewart, Helen Herrman and Harriet L. MacMillan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(23), 15672; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192315672 - 25 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2386
Abstract
Intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment (physical, emotional, sexual abuse, neglect, and children’s exposure to IPV) are two of the most common types of family violence; they are associated with a broad range of health consequences. We summarize evidence addressing the need [...] Read more.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment (physical, emotional, sexual abuse, neglect, and children’s exposure to IPV) are two of the most common types of family violence; they are associated with a broad range of health consequences. We summarize evidence addressing the need for safe and culturally-informed clinical responses to child maltreatment and IPV, focusing on mental health settings. This considers clinical features of child maltreatment and IPV; applications of rights-based and trauma- and violence-informed care; how to ask about potential experiences of violence; safe responses to disclosures; assessment and interventions that include referral networks and resources developed in partnership with multidisciplinary and community actors; and the need for policy and practice frameworks, appropriate training and continuing professional development provisions and resources for mental health providers. Principles for a common approach to recognizing and safely responding to child maltreatment and IPV are discussed, recognizing the needs in well-resourced and scarce resource settings, and for marginalized groups in any setting. Full article
9 pages, 325 KiB  
Brief Report
An Examination of Parents’ Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) History and Reported Spanking of Their Child: Informing Child Maltreatment Prevention Efforts
by Tracie O. Afifi, Samantha Salmon, Ashley Stewart-Tufescu and Tamara Taillieu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10580; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710580 - 25 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2639
Abstract
The current evidence indicates that spanking is harmful to children’s health and development and should never be used by parents or other caregivers. However, the critical factors that inform effective spanking prevention strategies are still not well understood. The objective of the current [...] Read more.
The current evidence indicates that spanking is harmful to children’s health and development and should never be used by parents or other caregivers. However, the critical factors that inform effective spanking prevention strategies are still not well understood. The objective of the current study was to determine if a parent’s own adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) history was associated with increased likelihood of reporting their child being spanked at age 10 or younger. Data were drawn from the Well-Being and Experiences Study (the WE Study), a community survey of parents and adolescents from 2017–2018 (N = 1000) from Canada. The results indicated that a parent’s own history of physical abuse, emotional abuse, spanking, and household mental illness in childhood were associated with an increased likelihood that their child would have been spanked. These findings indicate that a parent’s ACEs history may be related to how their own child is parented and identify families who may be more likely to rely on spanking. Preventing physical punishment is necessary for healthy child development, reducing the risk of further violence, and upholding children’s rights to protection. Parent’s ACEs history may be an important factor to consider when developing and implementing child maltreatment prevention efforts. Full article
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