Future steps – Moving forward with research and reports

The progression of PROCHILD is ongoing and we are continuing to work through various project activities.

As part of Work Package 3 –which aimed to map operators’ needs and good practices for an early and integrated detection and treatment of abused minors– we have finished collating and analysing evidence to produce various reports. Firstly, the report on elements and criteria for early detection of abused minors identifies characteristics and behaviours commonly displayed by abused children, and provides guidelines for the recognition of these warning signs by all professionals who work with children, including teachers, doctors, psychologists and social workers. This should assist with the cooperation of professionals and the early detection of abuse in children.

Additionally, a report on protective risk factors after child abuse for the development of psychosis has been completed. This details the strong link evident between child abuse and mental illnesses and the risks specifically associated with each type of abuse, before illustrating measures for the continued psychosocial support of victims of violence. These measures would be useful for preventing the onset of mental illness in those abused as children.

We have also created a web platform which will educate professionals working with children, as well as the public, in order to aid the support and protection of abused children. Informative material will soon be uploaded for this purpose.

Currently, we are proceeding with Work Package 4, which aims to develop protocols among the actors who are involved in the assistance and protection of abused children in accordance with a transferrable interdisciplinary intervention model. As part of this, the treatment and support for minors who have been victims of abuse and their families will be evaluated using our newly-developed questionnaire. This includes questions investigating the capability of police officers, teachers, psychologists, and social workers in dealing with reports of child abuse, such as how comfortable the minor felt while discussing these issues and how often they were asked to re-tell their account.

An assessment of child abuse awareness material for families and schools is also being conducted, the results of which will include ratings of their effectiveness and clarity plus suggestions for improvement. This could aid the development of more effective promotional material to raise awareness for child abuse.

Further research will include focus groups with judicial and social services and round-table discussions. Additionally, we will develop a European interdisciplinary and multi-professional model for detecting abuse and mistreatment and protecting minors in need of assistance. This should reduce underreporting, optimise procedures, and clarify how to conduct treatment and protection of minors including social, medical, psychological and legal aspects.

These project activities and various forms of research continue to shed light on the current support for abused children and how it can be improved. We will keep moving forward with these in order to enhance the protection and support of abused children.

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