A Call to End Violence Against Children

Evidence-based child abuse prevention: Developing measures for observation and evaluation in a global context

Violence against children – and its lifelong effects – is still frighteningly prevalent in our society. Figures published by UNICEF in 2014 showed that around 6 in 10 children between the ages of 2 and 14 worldwide (almost a billion) are subjected to physical punishment by their caregivers on a regular basis.

At the end of February, Frances Gardner- our Professor of Child and Family Psychology – addressed the UNICEF-organised ‘End Violence’ conference in Podgorica, Montenegro. In the audience was the Montenegrin Prime Minister and ministers from 6 of his government departments who, along with other senior figures from government, the World Health Organisation and NGOs in the region, heard Frances speak about the international evidence base for parenting programmes. This includes a set of successful parenting practices that can be applied in different cultures for improving early parent child relationships, and reducing violence against children. The ministers and other delegates came together at the conference to make an important pledge to ‘End Violence.’ You can read more about the conference here. 

Students at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention benefit hugely from working alongside our world-class staff – researchers whose work has global impact. Frances has recently published a research brief with UNICEF Innocenti which looks at how well parenting interventions can transport from country to country. DSPI researchers under her guidance, including Dr Jamie Lachman, are currently working in Tanzania, Thailand, South Africa and the Philippines to establish how parenting interventions can be most helpful for the lives of children and families in low and middle income countries. This is a fascinating and timely area of work which will make a real difference to the lives of children at risk of violence around the globe.