Context: Maltreatment occurs in all countries and in all environments such as schools, residential institutions and especially families but there are few comparative research projects to look at the effects of different cultures and organisational traditions on the effect of the known risk factors (like poverty, parenting stress, immaturity poor housing and marginalisation on violence against children). There are many gaps in our knowledge on the extent to which traditions can keep doors open to child maltreatment as opposed to laws, regulations and preventive measures that might promote children’s rights and their protection. In this context the presentation will look at existing research about child abuse and neglect specificities within former communist countries and their effects on the present policies and outcomes. It will also analyse existing data on prevention endeavours and their results in the last 27 years, in comparison with Western European countries. For historical data the presentation will mostly draw on the case of Romania, while for looking at prevention measures data will come from the PIECES project (Policy Investigation in Europe on Child Endangerment and Support, financed by Directorate of Justice, Daphne) which is among the few extensive data collection projects on child abuse and neglect legislative framework and prevention in all EU countries. Data were gathered via consultation with experts on violence against children in all EU member states. Results demonstrate that patterns of social policies in the area of prevention of child abuse and neglect have come much closer as for the legislative framework, as well as the prevention and intervention models, but resources deployed and professional requirements are still different, depending on institutional and community cultural traditions. We conclude that successful prevention policies of child abuse and neglect need to promote anti-violence values in a broader environmental change context and confront national policies and national cultural contexts.
Child abuse and neglect, prevention, cultural context