Abstract: Child and Adolescent Health in Europe: Monitoring Prevention Policies Addressing Violence Towards Children (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

94 Child and Adolescent Health in Europe: Monitoring Prevention Policies Addressing Violence Towards Children

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Sophia Backhaus, MSC, Consultant, World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark
Aixa Y Aleman-Diaz, MPP, Policy Advisor, University of St Andrew, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Introduction: To promote child and adolescent health in Europe, the WHO Regional Office for Europe developed the European Strategy for Child and Adolescent Health 2015-2020. It was adopted by all 53 Member States of the WHO European Region in 2014. The strategy’s preventive priorities are broad, and range from preventing death and infectious diseases, to protecting health and reducing risks. The aim of this study was to a)increase political commitment towards the development and implementation of national child and adolescent health related strategies, b)strengthen public health capacity to improve child health, and c)ensure monitoring to address social determinants of health by preventative measures.

Methods: Implementation of the strategy was monitored through a survey of 82 questions. The online questionnaire was sent to the 53 WHO focal points at ministries of health in the region in August 2016. National experts were invited to comment on specific topic areas, such as prevention of violence. The survey closed in April 2017, and had a response rate of 91% (48 of 53 countries).

Findings: Findings indicate that ministries reported a lack of data collection on violence in childhood and adolescence, and a lack of appropriate education addressing intimate partner violence throughout the region. While surveys of child maltreatment exist in just over half of countries (n=28, 58%), they vary in frequency, and rarely include responses from children. Two-thirds of countries (n= 30, 63%) reported providing age- and gender-appropriate education that addresses intimate-partner violence, however, only a third of countries (n=17, 35%) conducted nationally-representative surveys on intimate-partner violence.

Conclusion: Violence against children and adolescents is a leading cause of health inequality and social injustice that is highly patterned by socioeconomical status. While most countries collect data on child maltreatment every 1–6 years, the surveys often do not include children as the main providers of information. There is a need to increase knowledge about children’s and adolescents’ sexual/intimate-partner violence experience. Less than half of the countries undertake nationally-representative surveys on intimate-partner violence for children and adolescents, even though younger age is a consistent risk factor for experiencing intimate-partner violence, influencing subsequent violence. These findings help to identify gaps in monitoring and implementation of preventative measures in the European Region and give Member States specific areas to collect data that include children from a certain age, routinely, and in consultation with the national experts. Large scale monitoring of preventive efforts could be improved by attending to implement a national strategy that includes monitoring of key indicators.