Core Components of Public Health Approaches to Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Daryl J. Higgins, Bob Lonne, Todd I. Herrenkohl, J. Bart Klika, Debbie Scott

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Contemporary approaches to child protection have significant limitations and unintended consequences for children, parents, families, and communities. Statutory services struggle to engage with families who need support, to address the broader safety needs of children across the community, and to drive a culture of prevention of all forms of child maltreatment. There is a significant gap between prevalence, and cases of child maltreatment that come to the attention of statutory child protection authorities. Also, child protection services typically are not oriented or equipped to deal with non-familial abuse or harm to which children are exposed (such as extra-familial child sexual abuse, including in youth-serving organizations, harmful behavior from peers, and online grooming/abuse). In response, many now call for a new prevention-focused approach that draws on the learnings from public health. In this chapter, we examine public health approaches to preventing maltreatment and increasing safety and wellbeing for children and young people. We identify six core components of effective public health approaches. Population-wide prevention strategies to address known risks, using evidence-based interventions, leveraging existing universal service delivery platforms as the springboard for additional targeted services, can facilitate and improve child outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChild Maltreatment
Subtitle of host publicationContemporary Issues in Research and Policy
EditorsRichard D. Krugman, Jill E. Korbin
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783030824792
ISBN (Print)9783030824785
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameChild Maltreatment: Contemporary Issues in Research and Policy
ISSN (Print)2211-9701
ISSN (Electronic)2211-971X


  • Child maltreatment prevention
  • Community mobilization
  • Core components
  • Early intervention
  • Family support
  • Public health

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