What are European countries doing to prevent intentional injuries to children?

National Action

On March 20, 2014 the European Child Safety Alliance will launch a report on National Action to Address Child Intentional Injury with the support of Isabelle Durant, Vice President, European Parliament, and Bernard De Vos, European Network of Ombudspersons for Children, Chair.

The consequences of intentional injuries to children are devastating. Child maltreatment, peer violence and suicide/self-directed injury create a high burden for the affected children, their families and in many cases leave long lasting physical and emotional scars that can impact a child through the rest of his/her life.

The report on National Action to Address Child Intentional Injury examines safety measures in place to address intentional injury to children by describing the adoption, implementation and enforcement of national level policies addressing intentional injury prevention in over 25 Member States. The report will include a multi-country overview of actions related to leadership, children’s rights, capacity and data to facilitate European-level planning to support national level efforts. In addition to summarising results across participating Member States, the report also includes individual country profiles describing evidence-based actions to address child intentional injury in these four areas undertaken to July 2013.

The assessments completed to create these profiles were designed to allow both a baseline measure to identify current policy gaps in addressing child intentional injury and a monitoring tool against which priorities can be set and progress measured in Member States. This report is undertaken as part of the EU funded TACTICS project.

Participating countries: National assessments for action profiles have been completed for Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden and the United Kingdom (England and Scotland only). This is the first time that national actions to address child intentional injury are being comprehensively assessed and reported on in the European Union.

The policies included in the report and action profiles include both policies that broadly address the prevention of intentional injury and the violent acts that lead to them, as well as those specific to the different causes:

  • Policies related to national leadership (e.g., does the country have a government department / ministry with mandated responsibility for national coordination of violence prevention activities?)
  • Policies related to children’s rights (e.g., does the country have a national ombudsperson with specific responsibility for children and children’s rights?; does the country have a national law prohibiting corporal punishment in all settings – this includes home, school and alternate care settings?)
  • Policies related to capacity (e.g., does country have a nationally coordinated early childhood development programme to enhance children’s resilience?; has the country had a national media campaign at least once in past five years targeting peer to peer violence amongst children such as bullying or cyber bullying?)
  • Policies related to data (e.g., does the country have data that would allow an annual national estimate of the incidence of suicide in children?; will country participate in the Health Behaviour for School Age Children in 2014?)

Each policy included in the assessments has been evaluated using standard criteria and definitions to gauge whether or not it exists, and if it does, whether or not it has been fully implemented.

This report arises from the project TACTICS which has received funding from the European Union, in the framework of the Health Programme.

TACTICS funding and partnership: TACTICS is coordinated by the European Child Safety Alliance, with the support of the European Commission, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), Maastricht University, Nordic School of Public Health, Dublin City University, Swansea University, European Public Health Alliance, European Public Health Association, Schools for Health in Europe, European Transport Safety Council, UNICEF, World Health Organization (WHO) and the partner organisations in each of the participating countries (a full list of the organisations involved is available at www.childsafetyeurope.org). A range of other expert partners are also contributing to the development and distribution of the report on National Action to Address Child Intentional Injury including the Council of Europe, European Commission DG Justice, European Network of Ombudspersons for Children, EuroChild, Save the Children, UNICEF and Universities of Nottingham and Central Lancashire.

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