New Zealand is one of the six countries where there is no clear evidence of a decrease in child maltreatment over the past two decades.
The study was led by Professor Ruth Gilbert from the University College London Institute of Child Health (ICH). Violent deaths in children, hospitalized injuries related to maltreatment, and involvement with child protection agencies were the three indicators that were used to assess child abuse. Researchers found no apparent change in child maltreatment rates in New Zealand.
The results show a need to focus on preventing factors that contributed to child maltreatment. It is being suggested that increasing the sharing of data between government agencies could help reduce levels of child maltreatment.
Professor Gilbert said, "For too long, policy has been driven by high-profile deaths of
individual children. We need to invest in population-based data to
inform policy and to monitor trends. We also need to be able to link health and social care data to understand which professionals are seeing these children.''
The study results are published in the Lancet.