Community-Level Prevention of Childhood Maltreatment: Next Steps in a World with COVID-19 (Article in International Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy and Practice).
Molnar, Beth E. Scoglio, Arielle A. J. Beardslee, William R.
International Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy and Practice
Vol. 3 , p. 467-481
Maltreatment of children continues to be a major public health concern, with high social, economic and health burdens. Rates vary by a number of factors that can be categorized into different levels of the social ecology. Research and theory in this field point to the importance of community-level factors that can contribute to either risk or prevention of child maltreatment. The COVID-19 pandemic context creates additional risks and concerns related to child maltreatment and exacerbates risk factors that existed before: e.g., families and communities are in much worsened states of poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity; losses and grief are affecting mental health; and limitations and safety concerns are affecting in-person child protection work and more. Central to recovery from this pandemic will be the mobilization of community-level resources and the building back up of the social fabric that can support vulnerable children and caregivers. Key to this mobilization will be a better intersectional understanding of structural inequities in the child welfare system and in our communities. Efforts to dismantle structural biases and discrimination are critical to provide safety and support for families and vital for effective child maltreatment prevention. In this context, we discuss the state of the science of community-level prevention of childhood maltreatment, highlighting evidence-based community-level prevention programs and how these types of efforts may be impacted by the current COVID-19 global pandemic. (Author abstract)
COVID-19; child abuse; child neglect; sexual abuse; statistics; data analysis; risk factors; COMMUNITIES; NEIGHBORHOODS; PREVENTION