Book on violence against kids out

Kathmandu, October 19:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) released a guide ‘Preventing child maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence’ to help countries design and deliver programmes for the prevention of child maltreatment by parents and caregivers, said a statement issued by WHO recently.

The guide, published by WHO and the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN), is a practical tool that will help governments implement the recommendations of the UN Study on Violence Against Children, the statement said.

It said, the guide provides technical advice for professionals working in governments, research institutes and NGOs on how to measure the extent of child maltreatment and its consequences and how to design, implement and evaluate prevention programmes. And also notes that the strong relationships between child maltreatment, economic inequality and poverty mean that reducing inequality and poverty are likely to contribute to preventing child maltreatment.

A unique aspect of the guideline is its recognition that child maltreatment and other childhood adversities are associated with a broad range of risk-taking behaviours in later life, including smoking, high-risk sexual behaviours, unintended pregnancy and harmful alcohol and drug use.

According to a recent WHO study, the lifetime impacts of child sexual abuse account for approximately six per cent of cases of depression; six per cent of alcohol and or drug abuse/dependence; eight per cent of suicide attempts;

10 per cent of panic disorders, and 27 per cent of post traumatic stress disorders.

“What happens to people in childhood still has a major effect thirty, forty and even fifty years later. One person might be driven to chronic depression, or to alcoholism, another to suicide, another to drug use leading to chronic hepatitis. But these linkages are concealed by time, shame, secrecy, and by social taboos against discussing these things,” quoted Dr Vincent Felitti, Chief of Preventive Medicine at the Kaiser Permanent Medical Care Program in the USA.