Addressing violence against children: A systematic review on interventions to accelerate the achievement of the UN sustainable development goal in Europe and Africa

Louis Olié*, M. Catherine Maternowska, Deborah Fry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Violence against children (VAC) is a global public health issue. In the context of limited resources, the United Nations Development Programme has coined the concept of a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) accelerator for preventing and responding to VAC. An ‘accelerator’ is a provision that simultaneously leads to progress across multiple SDGs targets and goals. Objectives: This systematic review synthesizes the literature on violence prevention evaluation studies using robust methods according to the SDG accelerator framework for children aged 0–18 in Western Europe and Central and West Africa. It also provides a lens for analyzing research inequities between the global North and South, examining the challenges and differences undermining knowledge production across regions, particularly in research output. Method: We systematically searched 30 electronic databases and grey literature in English and French. The quality of included studies was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Results: Nine evaluation studies related to four SDG goals and ten targets were included in the analysis. As a result, no intervention was identified as an accelerator for children in West and Central Africa. In contrast, three promising interventions were identified as accelerators in Western Europe. Two school-based interventions reduce bullying, depression, and substance abuse and improve psychological well-being; and one home-based intervention reduces child abuse, the severity of neglect, and mental health problems and improves school attendance. Moreover, this review also uncovered a lack of research from the Global South that points to serious disadvantages for authors and institutions and global violence prevention efforts, as it hinders the flow of knowledge and innovative practices. Conclusions: The results highlight the need for future VAC prevention trials to integrate the SDG accelerators concept further. Additionally, more effort should be made to support scholars in the global South to address knowledge inequities and to enhance understanding of how accelerators work in different field settings and conditions. This effort will ensure that interventions accelerate SDG goals and impact the world's most vulnerable children.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106427
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Early online date1 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • childhood violence prevention
  • interventions
  • sustainable development goal accelerators
  • West and Central Africa
  • Western Europe


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