Preventing child maltreatment in Europe: a public health approach. Policy briefing



The aim of this policy briefing is to give an overview of what is known about child maltreatment in the family and how to prevent it using a public health approach.

The UN Secretary General’s report on violence to children highlights the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which requires all member states to offer effective child protection services, giving paramount importance to the rights of the child (0-17 years) and their best interests. There has been a growing awareness among professionals that physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect of children does occur and its identification, assessment and management requires sensitive and careful handling by all involved. Any involvement of health professionals in child care and protection includes the broader context of multi-sector networking and referral processes, preferably organised through national and local child protection coordinating committees. The most important task of these committees is to prevent child maltreatment before it occurs.