Child maltreatment ("child abuse")
Approximately 20% of women and 5–10% of men report being sexually abused as children, while 25–50% of all children report being physically abused. The lifelong consequences of child maltreatment include impaired physical and mental health, poorer school performance, and job and relationship difficulties. Ultimately, child maltreatment can contribute to slowing a country's economic and social development.
Publications and campaign materials
- Preventing child maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence
- Preventing violence through the development of safe, stable and nurturing relationships between children and their parents and caregivers
World report on violence and health, Chapter 3, Child abuse and neglect by parents and other caregivers
- UN Secretary-General's Study on Violence against Children
WHO's child maltreatment prevention objectives are to:
- raise awareness of the immediate and long-term health consequences of child maltreatment
- highlight preventability
- prioritize child maltreatment prevention in international and national health and development agendas
- reduce child maltreatment by supporting countries to increase capacity and establish child maltreatment prevention policies and programmes
- expand the global evidence base to cover more low- and middle-income countries
WHO activities for the prevention of child maltreatment carried out by the Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability currently cover:
Data collection and research
- The WHO Global Burden of Disease project includes estimates of deaths, morbidity, and Disabilty-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) due to child maltreatment.
- In China, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, and TFYR Macedonia, WHO has been piloting the "International Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Questionnaire" to explore the long-term consequences of ACE including child maltreatment.
- In the Philippines, WHO has supported a study on ACE and their life-long consequences and been involved in preparations for a national baseline survey on violence against children.
Policy, capacity and programme development
- In Malawi and South Africa a WHO project to develop policy and capacity for child maltreatment prevention is currently under way.
- A three-day course in the series Short courses on violence and injury prevention produced by WHO focuses on child maltreatment. Each of these short courses is a comprehensive teaching package complete with PowerPoint presentations, detailed facilitator notes, and student handouts and notes.
Readiness Assessment for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment (RAP-CM)
- Readiness Assessment for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment (RAP-CM) : A method for assessing the readiness – or capacity – of countries, provinces, and communities to implement child maltreatment prevention programmes on a large scale
- In Brazil, WHO has been involved in the development and piloting of a parent training programme for young mothers in favelas, which is being led by the Centre the Study of Violence at the University of São Paulo.
- In Malawi, Mozambique, the Philippines, and South Africa country situation assessments were carried out to assess resources and readiness to implement child maltreatment prevention programmes.
- In Brazil, China, Malaysia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and TFYR Macedonia an instrument to assess child maltreatment prevention readiness and capacity is being piloted and applied – with a view to increasing readiness and capacity and implementing child maltreatment prevention programmes on a large scale in these countries.
- WHO publishes and disseminates evidence on child maltreatment prevention and campaign materials
- WHO acts as the Secretariat of the Violence Prevention Alliance which has a significant focus on child maltreatment prevention.