Progress report on the development of child abuse prevention, identification, and treatment systems in Eastern Europe

Owen Lewis, John Sargent, Mark Chaffin, William N. Friedrich, Nicholas Cunningham, Pamela Cantor, Pamela Sumner Coffey, Susan Villani, Philip R. Beard, Mary Ann Clifft, David Greenspun

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Problem: After the Soviet Union dissolved in 1989, it became apparent that there was little recognition of the problems of child abuse and neglect, professionally, legally, or societally. There were no effective systems or laws in place to deal with these problems. Method: Beginning in 1995 the Children's Mental Health Alliance, in conjunction with the Open Society Institute began conducting trainings in Eastern Europe [Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry 39 (2000) 660]. Originally 18 countries from the Baltics to the Balkans participated. A program was elaborated which would proceed in several stages: (1) training mental health professionals to deal with child abuse and neglect (CAN); (2) teaching multidisciplinary team work and fostering the development of multidisciplinary NGOs focused on CAN; (3) promoting the self-sufficiency of these NGO's which would then facilitate social and legal reform and increase public awareness of the problem. Specific methods included multi-national trainings, assignment of mentors to the developing teams who maintained weekly contact with the teams and made yearly site visits to their countries, and overseeing project grants from OSI. Results: NGO's had been established and registered in 11 countries, many establishing a network of programs within their countries. By 2000, over 3800 mental health professional had been trained, either directly by the program or by the trainees of the program. By the end of 2000, over 17,000 other professionals (lawyers, police, judges, educators, other physicians, etc.) had been trained by the network. Conclusion: While more work needs to be in this region, the teams in 11 countries have made solid starts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-111
Number of pages19
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Child abuse
  • Eastern Europe
  • Mental health training
  • Post-Soviet transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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