Community-Level Prevention of Child Maltreatment

  • Beth E. Molnar
  • William R. Beardslee
Part of the Child Maltreatment book series (MALT, volume 2)


Evidence-based interventions to prevent child maltreatment among individuals and families are being implemented across wide areas of the U.S. Often focused on high-risk families such as teenage parents, single parents, or families living in poverty, these approaches are typically focused on giving parents skills, knowledge, and sometimes assistance with multiple needs that enable them to safely parent their young children. This chapter describes a much newer area of inquiry, that is how community-level approaches to child maltreatment prevention, typically evaluated on their ability to both change environments and to improve population rates of maltreatment, can augment these individual and family-focused efforts. We describe the development of these interventions and how it follows an emerging body of research on both neighborhood structural factors such as poverty and segregation, and potentially modifiable social processes, such as collective efficacy, each of which are associated with fluctuations in maltreatment rates in expected directions. A number of existing community-level prevention programs will be described. We will discuss different definitions of community-level programs for child maltreatment prevention; strategies for building relationships with communities; working with culturally diverse communities; overcoming barriers to implementation; and planning for sustainability. Recommendations for moving community-level child maltreatment programs forward are provided.


Child Maltreatment Child Sexual Abuse Collective Efficacy Social Disorganization Physical Punishment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bouvé College of Health SciencesNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical School, Boston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA

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