Situation analysis of child maltreatment prevention in Latvia (2018)
This situation analysis report on prevention of child maltreatment in Latvia has been prepared with the cooperation of many stakeholders from different ministries, such as justice, welfare and health, agencies such as child protection, ombudsman and police, and nongovernmental organizations. Studies conducted in Latvia suggest that many children needlessly suffer from child maltreatment. As in other countries, most maltreatment occurs in the family and may not come to the attention of child protection agencies. It is nevertheless a grave public health and societal problem with far-reaching consequences for the mental, physical and reproductive health of children, and for societal development. This analysis found that while good progress is being made in availability of rehabilitation services, there is room for improvement in early prevention measures and data collection. Collaborative actions are required among all partners to tackle this public health and societal problem. This includes better information exchange and collaboration among stakeholders, improved detection and child-centred responses, enforcement of laws and social marketing to change attitudes to corporal punishment, and support to families in need. Health systems have a key role to play, not only in providing high-quality services for children who experience violence, but also in detecting and supporting families at risk and implementing prevention programmes, such as home visitation and parenting support. One way of ensuring this is to strengthen national policy on the prevention of child maltreatment, providing early and targeted support to all children and their families.