- LAST REVIEWED: 14 October 2016
- LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0038
- LAST REVIEWED: 14 October 2016
- LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0038
Child maltreatment encompasses all forms of child abuse and neglect. Child maltreatment has long-term devastating consequences, and it is preventable. Children die of abuse and neglect at a rate of 2.33 per 100,000 children. Shaken baby syndrome results in blindness, motor and cognitive impairment, and death. Chronic abuse and neglect during infancy and young childhood interferes with brain formation and function Child maltreatment increases the risk of chronic diseases during adulthood. Child maltreatment is a form of violence. Public health starts with the assumption that violent behavior and related adverse consequences can be prevented. The public health approach moves from problem to solution by (1) systematically gathering data on what is known about the scope and consequences of child maltreatment; (2) determining the causes of child maltreatment and what increases and decreases risk factors for abusive and neglectful behavior; (3) discovering ways to prevent child maltreatment by designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions; and (4) disseminating promising and proven interventions to prevent child maltreatment in diverse communities. Violence is the intentional use of force or power and includes threats, intimidation, and neglect. The World Health Organization categorizes violence as self-directed, interpersonal, and collective. Interpersonal violence includes community violence and family violence. Community violence includes youth violence, gangs, sexual violence, and violence in settings such as schools and workplaces. Family violence includes child abuse, intimate partner violence, and elder abuse. Violence is complex and best understood within an ecological framework. First proposed by Urie Bronfenbrenner, the ecological model illuminates the interactions among individual characteristics, social relationships, community context, and societal factors. Public health interventions include primary prevention (before child maltreatment occurs), secondary prevention (immediate response to child maltreatment), and tertiary prevention (reducing long-term consequences resulting from child maltreatment). Approaches to prevent child maltreatment include interventions that are universal, selected, and indicated. Universal interventions are designed for the general public regardless of level of risk. Selected interventions are directed toward persons who are at increased risk of abusing or neglecting children. Indicated interventions are for persons who already have experienced child maltreatment.
Many resources relating to violence and violence prevention are available on the Internet. However, three websites stand out as being authoritative, comprehensive, and up-to-date: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University. Accessing these websites is recommended as a first step for persons who are interested in child maltreatment as well as the broad topic of violence prevention. Chalk and King 1998 provides in-depth information about family violence and child protection policy and practice. Haskins, et al. 2007 makes recommendations to improve child protection services. Landy and Menna 2006 is a comprehensive resource for working with multi-risk families. Berlin, et al. 2005 puts child maltreatment in the context of early child and caregiver relationships. Jordan and Sketchley 2009 provides a public health framework for preventing child maltreatment, focusing on children from birth to age three.
Berlin, Lisa J., Y. Ziv, L. Amaya-Jackson, and M. Greenberg, eds. 2005. Enhancing early attachments: Theory, research, intervention, and policy. New York: Guilford.
Puts child abuse and neglect in the broader context of early attachment and the importance of early child and caregiver relationships. Provides underlying rationale and principles for specific effective interventions and how programs fit within health, social service, and early education systems. Good resource for graduate education.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Global Violence Prevention.
Well-designed, user-friendly extensive resource for all types of violence prevention information. Links allow the user to download many reports and articles, including World Health Organization reports.
Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University. Violence Prevention Evidence Base and Resources.
Online database provides access to abstracts from published studies that measure effectiveness of interventions to prevent violence. The studies meet selection criteria and standards, with those highly rated identified by stars. Each abstract is coded by region, country, and type of violence (e.g., child, youth, intimate partner).
Chalk, Rosemary, and Patricia King, eds. 1998. Violence in families: Assessing prevention and treatment programs. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Synthesis of research evidence to support recommendation for family violence interventions. Focuses on a critical review of 114 evaluation studies conducted between 1980 and 1996. Many tables will help readers categorize and make sense of a plethora of published studies.
Haskins, Ron, Fred Wulczyn, and Mary Bruce Webb, eds. 2007. Child protection: Using research to improve policy and practice. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Reports findings from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, a longitudinal study of children referred to child protective services. Provides information to challenge unfounded assumptions and makes recommendations to improve the practice of child protection.
Jordan, Brigid, and Robyn Sketchley. 2009. A stitch in time saves nine: Preventing and responding to the abuse and neglect of infants. Child Abuse Prevention 30:1–26.
This excellent article summarizes the application of the public health approach and identifies primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions for child maltreatment. The section on out-of-home care addresses the dilemmas of the infant’s need for a secure attachment while working toward reunification with the parents. Other practice issues are identified, including infant mental health services.
Landy, Sarah, and Rosanne Menna, eds. 2006. Early intervention with multi-risk families: An integrative approach. Baltimore: Brookes.
A comprehensive resource for scholars and practitioners interested in promoting the development of children living in families with multiple stressors. Challenges clinicians to avoid relying on favored approaches. Would be good for training clinicians and as a reference for practicing clinicians.
World Health Organization. World report on violence and health Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 2002.
Provides a comprehensive global review of all types of violence. Clearly articulates the public health approach to prevention as it relates to violence. Resources include multiple links to general and specific types of violence-related websites.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Access to Health Care
- Action Research
- Active Aging
- Active Living
- Adolescent Risk-Taking Behavior in the United States
- Advocacy, Public Health
- Agricultural Safety and Public Health
- Air Quality: Health Effects
- Air Quality: Indoor Health Effects
- Alcohol Availability and Violence
- Alternative Research Designs
- Ambient Air Quality Standards and Guidelines
- American Perspectives on Chronic Disease and Control
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
- Asthma in Children
- Attachment as a Health Determinant
- Behavior Change Theory in Health Education and Promotion
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
- Bicycling and Cycling Safety
- Birth and Death Registration
- Birth Cohort Studies
- Board of Health
- Built Environment and Health, The
- Business and Corporate Practices
- Cancer Communication Strategies in North America
- Cancer Prevention
- Cancer Screening
- Capacity Building
- Capacity Building for NCDs in LMICs
- Capacity-Building for Applied Public Health in LMIC: A US ...
- Cardiovascular Health and Disease
- Child Maltreatment
- Children, Air Pollution and
- Children, Injury Risk-Taking Behaviors in
- Children, Obesity in
- Citizen Advisory Boards
- Climate Change and Human Health
- Climate Change: Institutional Response
- Clinical Preventive Medicine
- Community Air Pollution
- Community Development
- Community Gardens
- Community Health Assessment
- Community Partnerships and Coalitions
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Complexity and Systems Theory
- Definition of Health
- Dental Public Health
- Design and Health
- Dietary Guidelines
- Ecological Approaches
- Enabling Factors
- Environmental Laws
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Ethics of Public Health
- Evidence-Based Public Health Practice
- Family Planning Services and Birth Control
- Food Safety
- Food Security and Food Banks
- Food Systems
- Frail Elderly
- Functional Literacy
- Genomics, Public Health
- Geographic Information Systems
- Geography and Health
- Global Health
- Global Health Diplomacy
- Global Health Promotion
- Guide to Community Preventive Services, The
- Health Administration
- Health Communication
- Health Disparities
- Health Education
- Health Impact Assessment
- Health in All Policies
- Health in All Policies in European Countries
- Health Literacy
- Health Literacy and Non-Communicable Diseases
- Health Measurement Scales
- Health Planning
- Health Promoting Hospitals
- Health Promotion
- Health Promotion Workforce Capacity
- Healthy People Initiative
- Hepatitis C
- High Risk Prevention Strategies
- Human Rights, Health and
- Immigrant Populations
- Immunization and Pneumococcal Infection
- Indigenous Peoples, Public Health and
- Indigenous Populations of North America, Australasia, and ...
- Indoor Air Quality Guidelines
- Internet Applications in Promoting Health Behavior
- Intersectoral Strategies in Low - Middle Income Countries ...
- Justice, Social
- Knowledge Translation and Exchange
- Knowledge Utilization and Exchange
- Law of Public Health in the United States
- Media Advocacy
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Promotion
- Migrant Health
- Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention
- Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
- National Association of Local Boards of Health
- National Public Health Institutions
- Needs Assessment
- Obesity Prevention
- Occupational Cancers
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Ottawa Charter
- Parenting and Work
- Parenting Skills and Capacity
- Participatory Action Research
- Patient Decision Making
- Pesticide Exposure and Pesticide Health Effects
- Physical Activity and Exercise
- Physical Activity Promotion
- Polio Eradication in Pakistan
- Population Aging
- Population Determinants of Unhealthy Foods and Beverages
- Population Health Objectives and Targets
- Precautionary Principle
- Prenatal Health
- Program Evaluation in American Health Education
- Program Planning and Evaluation
- Public Health, History of
- Public Health Surveillance
- Public-Private Partnerships in Public Health Research and ...
- Public-Private Partnerships to Prevent and Manage Obesity ...
- Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment
- Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies
- Randomized Controlled Trials
- Real World Evaluation Strategies
- Reducing Obesity-Related Health Disparities in Hispanic an...
- Rural Health in the United States
- Safety, Patient
- Sex Education in HIV/AIDS Prevention
- Skin Cancer Prevention
- Smoking Cessation
- Social Determinants of Health
- Social Epidemiology
- Social Marketing
- Statistics in Public Health
- Systems in the United States, Public Health
- Systems Theory in Public Health
- Traditional, Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative M...
- Translation of Science to Practice and Policy
- Traumatic Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Tuberculosis among Adults and the Determinants of Health
- Unintentional Injury Prevention
- Urban Health
- Vaccine Hesitancy
- Violence Prevention
- Water Quality
- Water Quality and Water-Related Disease
- Weight Management in US Occupational Settings
- Worksite Health Promotion