|World Perspectives on Child Abuse (10th Edition)|
The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) is pleased to announce the release of the Tenth Edition of World Perspectives on Child Abuse. This publication offers a unique view of the state of child maltreatment policy and practice. Edited by Howard Dubowitz and sponsored by the Australian Institute of Criminology and Public Health Agency of Canada.
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The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) initiated its World Perspectives on Child Abuse: An International Resource Book in 1992, as part of the Ninth International Congress on Child Maltreatment held in Chicago, Illinois. Since that time, nine editions of this publication have been produced and released at subsequent biennial Congresses sponsored by ISPCAN. This document is the Tenth Edition in the series and is being released in conjunction with the 10th International Congress being held in Istanbul, Turkey. All of these efforts have sought to bring attention and understanding to the worldwide problem of child abuse and neglect and to highlight key differences across national policies in this area.
SUMMARY: OF THE REPORT:
Since 1982, the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) has published World Perspectives on Child Abuse every two years, releasing it in conjunction with its international congresses. We follow the tradition for this tenth edition, releasing it at the time of our congress in Istanbul, Turkey.
The title World Perspectives suggests an ambitious goal. It is naturally difficult to cover the entire world and to capture what is happening related to child abuse and neglect in all countries in any depth. Nevertheless, World Perspectives offers valuable glimpses of this problem in many countries, an opportunity to track trends and progress and, hopefully, information that many will find useful.
A major part of this edition is once again the survey of laws, policies and programs in individual countries. The country profiles (at Appendix C) present the situation in 69 countries. It should be noted that the survey was updated and shortened and for the first time completed online. Thus, for some questions, it is not possible to compare its findings to earlier findings.
One well-informed person would typically report on his or her country. While we encouraged soliciting input from others when necessary, it is difficult to know the accuracy of what was reported. Indeed, there can be enormous variation within a country, making it tricky to respond to some questions. Despite this, it is likely that the information provides at least a general snapshot of child maltreatment in each country.
In addition to profiling the individual countries, we analyzed the data by geographic region and income level categories—low, middle, and high. There are striking commonalities and differences. For example, the need for greater service capacity is widespread, but low-income countries face much more daunting challenges when even basic infrastructures and services may not exist. For both individual and grouped countries, the data presented in this edition should serve as a valuable baseline for tracking future trends.
Another section includes 19 short invited articles. Taking advantage of the editor’s prerogative, I proposed a focus on two areas especially central to ISPCAN’s work. The first is child neglect, particularly the laws and policies that surround it; the second is prevention, giving priority to programs that have been evaluated and appear to be promising or "effective." The quotation marks acknowledge that evidence is often not as strong as we would like, and claims of effectiveness are not always well justified. Even the term "promising" seems to be bandied about rather liberally. It goes without saying that we need to be careful in evaluating programs and policies, and cautious in our claims.
Outside of those areas, two articles are included that enrich this volume with international perspectives— an article on General Comment 13 regarding Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and one on violence experienced by girls and women in Latin America and the Caribbean. Finally, appendices include contact information for many of the respondents who completed the survey, the survey itself, and a list of major international agencies and ISPCAN Country partners involved in addressing child abuse and neglect.
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