Measuring and monitoring national prevalence of child maltreatment: a practical handbook.

Franziska Meinck, Janina Steinert, Dinesh Sethi, Ruth Gilbert, Mark A. Bellis, Christopher Mikton, Lenneke Alink, Adriana Baban

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


This handbook has been developed to support the creation of a surveillance system to measure and monitor child maltreatment prevalence
across European countries. Implementation of a surveillance system will be an essential factor in realizing Investing in children, the European child
maltreatment prevention action plan 2015–2020. It describes the processes involved in setting up child maltreatment surveillance systems and
presents recommendations on issues such as selection of data collection method, sampling of respondents, choice of instrument to measure abuse
and ethical considerations. The handbook suggests community-based surveys on prevalence as the most appropriate method in setting up a child
maltreatment surveillance system and proposes the use of one of three established child maltreatment questionnaires, based on the results of a
rapid systematic review of child abuse measures. The Short Child Maltreatment Questionnaire is introduced for countries needing a brief measure.
Ideally, community-based surveys should be conducted with nationally representative samples of approximately 1500 students in each age group
and administered via schools. The use of self-report methods – paper-based or tablet/mobile-phone self-administered questionnaires – is advised.
Questions should capture previous-year and lifetime prevalence of child maltreatment. Monitoring prevalence rates over time requires surveys to
be conducted at repeated time points. It is proposed that surveys be administered every four to seven years. Methods of data collection that do
not involve children are presented for countries unable to conduct surveys with children. Finally, ethical considerations in conducting surveys on
child maltreatment are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherWorld Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, Denmark
Number of pages49
ISBN (Print)978 92 890 5163 7
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2016


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