Nordic–Baltic workshop on the prevention of child maltreatment: strengthening intersectoral working

1–2 June 2017, Riga, Latvia

At least 55 million children experience maltreatment in the WHO European Region by the time they reach 18 years of age. This type of adverse childhood experience can result in poor physical and mental health as well as negative social outcomes for children, including an increased likelihood of being a victim or perpetrator of violence during their lifetime.

Member States adopted “Investing in children: the European child maltreatment prevention action plan”, which calls for a 20% reduction in child maltreatment by 2020. Among the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by governments, target 16.2 seeks to end all forms of violence against children by 2030. These European and global policies call for an intersectoral and whole-of-society response to end violence against children. This is in line with Health 2020, the European policy for health and well-being, which highlights the importance of a whole-of-society approach to reduce inequities.

To this end, WHO/Europe, the Nordic Council of Ministers and Latvia’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Welfare have jointly organized a Nordic–Baltic workshop on the prevention of children maltreatment. It took place on 1–2 June 2017 in Riga, Latvia.

The workshop brought together about 80 experts and stakeholders from key sectors, including policy-makers, professionals and activists from the Baltic and Nordic countries. Its aim was to promote the exchange of expertise in the intersectoral response to the prevention of violence against children.

A series of keynote presentations, small-group work sessions, videos and panel discussions covering a range of prevention programmes provided opportunities to meet the following key objectives:

  • to discuss the role of the health, welfare, education and justice sectors in an intersectoral response to preventing violence against children, and how this could apply to the Latvian context and that of other Baltic countries;
  • to receive the latest examples of good practice in preventing violence in childhood from the Region with a focus on the Nordic and Baltic countries;
  • to exchange evidence-based experience on implementing programmes consisting of home visitation, positive parenting and preschool education, and violence-free schools;
  • to debate how policy and programming may be improved to tackle this leading cause of adverse childhood experience; and
  • to promote the development of policy and science partnerships between Baltic and Nordic countries to prevent violence in childhood.