Prevention of physical and sexual abuse of children. An overview.

Glad, K. A., Øverlien, C., & Dyb, G. (2010). Forebygging av fysiske og seksuelle overgrep mot barn. En kunnskapsoversikt [Prevention of physical and sexual abuse of children. An overview.] Norwegian only.

• Many preventative measures at a societal level exist, for example media campaigns, requiring police records and pre- and post natal services, but an evaluation of these are lacking.

• House visitation programs are the most evaluated measures in the prevention of physical child abuse. Currently only one house visitation program stands out from the others in that it shows positive and stable results; the Nurse-Family Partnership.  

• Other promising programs that can contribute in reducing the physical abuse of children is Triple P, the Dias-model and the SEEK-model, but there is a need for more research on the effect of these.

• The main approach used in preventing sexual abuse has been school based teaching programs. The evaluation of such programs has shown that they can contribute to increasing children’s knowledge and skills, but do not necessarily reduce the number of incidents of sexual abuse.

• There is a need to broaden the focus of prevention of sexual abuse of children from a one-sided approach directed towards children/adolescents to trying out different measures directed towards parents, professionals (teachers, health workers and researchers/clinicians) and the general public. 

• There is a great need to coordinate preventative work that is initiated and systematically evaluate the outcome and long-term effect of these measures. The evaluation should be done systematically, with a good research design (preferably RCT), and be based on direct measures of the prevalence of abuse and not just solely on risk factors associated with such abuse.    

The Researchers