With respect to human services, prevention typically consists of methods or activities that seek to reduce or deter specific or predictable problems, protect the current state of well-being, or promote desired outcomes or behaviors.
The term "prevention" is typically used to represent activities that stop an action or behavior. It can also be used to represent activities that promote a positive action or behavior. Research has found that successful child abuse interventions must both reduce risk factors and promote protective factors to ensure the well-being of children and families.
Protective factors are conditions in families and communities that, when present, increase the health and well-being of children and families. They are attributes that serve as buffers, helping parents who might otherwise be at risk of abusing their children to find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress.
Child Abuse Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Presents an overview of child abuse and neglect prevention and reviews child maltreatment statistics, how child abuse and neglect are preventable, and links to several resources on preventing child abuse and neglect as well as parenting essentials.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
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Parenting and Family Support within a Broad Child Abuse Prevention Strategy: Child Maltreatment Prevention can Benefit From Public Health Strategies
Child Abuse & Neglect, 51
Examines child abuse and neglect prevention from a community perspective, with special attention paid to parenting-focused intervention. Adopting a public health approach in prevention strategies can strengthen community systems that decreases child maltreatment.
Preventing Child Maltreatment: Defining the Problem, Discussing Solutions
National Conference of State Legislatures
Defines child abuse before presenting various strategies for preventing maltreatment, including increasing home visiting, promoting health literacy, and engaging community health workers.
Understanding and Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
American Psychological Association (2018)
Defines child abuse and neglect and examines the factors that place a child at risk of child maltreatment, consequences of child maltreatment, factors that can help prevent child abuse and neglect, and types of prevention.
What is Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention?
FRIENDS National Center for Community Based Child Abuse Prevention
Discusses community-based child abuse prevention and programs and defines child abuse and neglect. The website also explores what kinds of prevention activities are funded across the country.
The impact of child maltreatment can be profound. Research shows that child maltreatment is associated with adverse health and mental health outcomes in children and families, and those negative effects can last a lifetime. In addition to the impact on the child, child abuse and neglect also has profound, broad implications on communities. One analysis of the immediate and long-term economic impact of child abuse and neglect suggests that child maltreatment costs the nation as much as $258 million each day, or approximately $94 billion each year.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016)
Investigates the ways in which adverse childhood experiences affect experiences throughout the life course. Website provides the ACE study, as well as additional resources and related journal articles.
Child Abuse and Neglect: Why Prevention is Important
Psychology Today (2017)
Examines child abuse and neglect and why prevention of child maltreatment is important because it can be avoided and because abuse and neglect can lead to negative consequences such as depression, developmental delays, and risk of developing substance abuse during adulthood.
Making the Case: Why Prevention Matters
Prevent Child Abuse America
Presents several papers that review changes in the field of child abuse prevention that have led to improved child health and well-being and discuss ways to sustain support for prevention.
Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Technical Package for Policy, Norm, and Programmatic Activities (PDF - 3,994 KB)
Fortson, Klevens, Merrick, Gilbert, & Alexander (2016)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Presents evidence-based economic, social, and individual interventions to reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect.
Reasons to Prevent Child Abuse
Prevent Child Abuse Indiana
Presents ten reasons to dedicate resources to child abuse prevention that benefit children, youth, families, and communities, ranging from economic incentives to community welfare.