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

Funded by: ESRC

Start date: June 2017

End date: May 2019

Project outline

Globally, physical, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect affect 1 billion children ever year. Child abuse causes not only immediate medical and psychological trauma, but it has also been shown to lead to multiple severe outcomes that reach into adulthood. Furthermore, it increases the risk for re-victimisation, perpetration and inter-generational transmission of child abuse. It is a complex social issue with need for prevention, reduction and response within the home.

Rates of child abuse victimisation remain unacceptably high across the globe, however, there is currently a lack of prevalence rate data and rigorously tested interventions. This paucity of evidence is due to two major gaps in methodology. The first is a lack of validated and freely-available child abuse measures that are sufficiently concise for inclusion in large-scale, multi-component studies. The second is the lack of a measure sensitive enough to assess change in severity and frequency of abuse in intervention studies.

This project will pool data from five studies in three countries: Tanzania, South Africa and the Philippines of the newly developed International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Child Abuse Screening Tool (ICAST) for use in intervention studies (ICAST-TRIAL), which has been developed by Franziska and her team. This multi-country dataset will be used for psychometric testing and validation of the ICAST-TRIAL across different cultures and countries. Further focus groups will be conducted with stakeholders to determine a minimum item pool for a brief child abuse measure for inclusion in multi-component studies.

A collaboration between Oxford, WHO and UNICEF

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