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Effective Global Indicators of Child Maltreatment : The “Best Interest” of the Child in the Convention on the Rights

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Effective Global Indicators of Child Maltreatment : The “Best Interest” of the Child in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Sook Hyun Kim, MSW Boston University School of Social Work June, 2007. Purpose of the Study.

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Effective Global Indicators of Child Maltreatment: The “Best Interest” of the Child in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Sook Hyun Kim, MSW

Boston University

School of Social Work

June, 2007

purpose of the study
Purpose of the Study
  • To explore why there is no universal indicator that allows child maltreatment to be measured globally
  • To examine the CRC as an international indicator for child maltreatment
definition of child maltreatment
Definition of Child Maltreatment
  • Child maltreatment is defined as “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development of dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.

(WHO, 1999)

definition of child maltreatment4
Definition of Child Maltreatment
  • Narrow definition of child maltreatment: CAN (physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect)
  • Broadly defined child maltreatment:

Including child poverty, child labor, child trafficking, street children, and children in armed conflict

no valid definition of child maltreatment
No Valid Definition of Child Maltreatment
  • Definitions of child maltreatment differ significantly between countries and cultures.
  • There is a lack of social consensus about what constitute unacceptable and acceptable forms of parenting or caring.
constraints in measuring child maltreatment
Constraints in Measuring Child Maltreatment
  • Cultural Contextual Constraints
  • Cultural, socioeconomic, and religious factors
  • A country’s social norms such as low value on children and general support for use of physical punishment
  • Poverty
constraints in measuring child maltreatment7
Constraints in Measuring Child Maltreatment
  • Practical Constraints
  • Existing administrative data/indicators cannot measure international comparison accurately.
  • Existing child maltreatment indicators in one country may be contextually inappropriate to the different social structure and cultural setting.
  • Difficulties of transfer of international measures to a local context
constraints in measuring child maltreatment8
Constraints in Measuring Child Maltreatment
  • Resource Constraints
  • A country’s limited economic and social resources
  • Limited social service infrastructure
  • A lack of effective systems to investigate child maltreatment
key data of child maltreatment
Child Poverty:

30 percent of children (600 million) live on less than $1 a day

Child Mortality:

11 million children a day die before the age of five

Children Living with HIV/AIDS:

1,800 children under 15 are infected a day

Child Homicide:

31,000 deaths each year

Child Labor:

218 million children are engaged in child labor

Child Trafficking:

1.2 million children are trafficked each year

Street Children:

Tens of millions or higher

Children in Armed Conflict:

300,000 children under 18 are exploited in armed conflicts

Key Data of Child Maltreatment
conceptual framework 1 paradigm shift
Conceptual Framework: 1. Paradigm Shift

Traditional Concept of Children New Concept of Children

  • Views of the Child:

Independent human being,

a subject of rights,

a participant in action

  • Approach:


Rights-based approach

  • Solution:

Ecological, Multilateral,

Transnational approach

  • Views of the Child:


  • member of the family
  • Approach:
  • Psychopathological,
  • Medical approach
  • Solution:

Single-factor, Territorial


conceptual framework 2 ecological model of child maltreatment
Conceptual Framework:2. Ecological Model of Child Maltreatment





Child maltreatment as a multidimensional phenomenon resulting from the interaction of several factors

un convention on the rights of the child crc
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
  • A full range of rights for children: civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights
  • As a framework to develop child-centered indicators and national policy to protect the rights of the children in the world
  • Article 19: “State Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parents, legal guardians, or any other person who has the care of the child.”
reporting monitoring process of crc
Reporting & Monitoring Process of CRC
  • Countries that ratify the Convention are required to report progress every 5 years.(Committee on the Rights of the Child)
  • The nature and quality of reports varies in each country.
  • The interpretation of the Convention in any social and cultural context varies.
best interests of the child
“Best-Interests” of the Child
  • Article 3:

“In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”

best interests of the child16
“Best-Interests” of the Child

1. “Treating Child as a Person”

2. “Right to Participation”

global indicators for child maltreatment and child s rights
Global Indicators for Child Maltreatment and Child’s Rights










concept of


for more information contact
For more information, Contact:

Sook Hyun Kim

Boston University

School of Social Work