Treating the effect of child abuse

Health Council of the Netherlands, Gezondheidsraad
Record ID 32011001008
Authors' objectives:

Child abuse has always been with us and it takes many different forms. It is estimated that more than 100,000 children are abused in the Netherlands each year. In recent years, the government has taken strong measures to improve the prevention, detection, and reporting of child abuse. Given the lack of clarity concerning the available treatment options for juvenile and adult victims of child abuse, the Minister for Youth and Family has requested the Health Council's advice on this matter. He asked for a summary of the current level of knowledge regarding treatment of the effects of child abuse, and an explanation of the nature of these effects. He further requested an indication of the care requirement, and recommendations on how the care for victims can be improved.

Authors' recommendations: The Committee urges that care development be directed towards an integrated approach. This would involve intensive, multidisciplinary collaboration between caregivers and agencies at key moments in care. In addition, there would be an integrated approach to the issues affecting abused children and those closest to them, or to the issues affecting adults who were abused as children. Two initiatives have been launched to develop a comprehensive approach over the next few years, and to explore its effectiveness. The first of these, the Academische Werkplaats Kindermishandeling (academic work centre on child abuse issues), is a collaborative venture between VU (Free University) Amsterdam and the Haarlem Kinder- en jeugdtraumacentrum (centre for traumatised children and young people). The second is a plan by Fier Fryslân to establish a multidisciplinary centre for the treatment of victims of child abuse. The Committee recommends that these initiatives be supported, for instance by facilitating their effective assessment.Since these two initiatives focus on children, the Committee also recommends installing an academic work centre focussing on adults who were abused as children, complementing the activities of the Landelijk Centrum Vroegkinderlijkechronische Traumatisering (Netherlands Centre for Chronic Early Childhood Traumatisation).The ground must be properly prepared before further, more effective research can be conducted into treatment options following child abuse. The first step involves making a systematic and structured record of the intervention chosen (including the reasons behind this choice), and its outcome. This approach makes it possible to gather practice-based evidence. This can then be used to implement larger-scale scientific studies that are capable of providing a springboard for evidence- based practice. In theory this is already an aspect of psychiatric practice, in the form of routine outcome monitoring. Youth care services in particular also need a system of this kind. While the ground is being prepared for research, other work can pave the way for evidence-based practice in all areas of care that deal with child abuse, particularly youth care services. A possible option here is community-based learning, as used in various parts of the United States.If the quality of care is to be improved then a great deal of training will be needed for caregivers in the field of child abuse. The assessment and treatment of the effects of child abuse is a specialised job, one that requires considerable expertise. This specialised training requirement could be met with support from the recently established Landelijk Opleidingscentrum Aanpak Kindermishandeling (national training centre for tackling child abuse issues).
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2011
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: Netherlands
MeSH Terms
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Survivors
  • Child Abuse
Organisation Name: Health Council of the Netherlands Gezondheidsraad
Contact Address: Postbus 16052, 2500 BB Den Haag, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 70 340 7520;Fax: +31 70 340 7523
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Copyright: <p>Health Council of the Netherlands (GR)</p>
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