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Balkan Epidemiological Study on Child Abuse and Neglect

The largest epidemiological study on Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) ever conducted in the Balkan region in terms of sample size (more than 30.000 children and parents) has begun with the participation of Research Centres and CAN-related Organizations from 9 Balkan countries [Greece, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Albania, Bulgaria, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Turkey, Romania].

The project “Balkan Epidemiological Study on Child Abuse and Neglect” [BECAN], coordinated by the Centre for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Department of Mental Health and Social Welfare-Institute of Child Health [Greece] is co-funded by the European Commission under 7th Framework Program for Research and Technological Development and the participating Organizations. BECAN aims at mapping incidence and prevalence of CAN in the participating countries’ general population of 11- 13- and 16-year old children that attend and those that have dropped out of school. The target population will be studied through, by applying two child-parents matched, translated in the official languages and culturally validated I-CAST questionnaires and then delivered to a representative sample of children-parents population in the participating countries. [I-CAST_CH for children and I-CAST_P for parents], created by the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN), with the support of UNICEF]. Moreover, BECAN project aims at conducting a case-based surveillance study by extracting information for CAN-reported and/or detected cases already available at existing archives and databases of the participating countries. The importance of BECAN anticipated results as well as its innovative character is in virtue of the fact that, until now, there are no robust CAN incidence and prevalence data available -not only for the totality of the Balkans, but also at national level of individual countries. Identification of the real magnitude of CAN, which constitutes a major public health problem worldwide, is expected to provide guidance for policy making as well as to create a basis for effectiveness and efficiency assessment of any future CAN-related preventive, legal or other intervention. BECAN’s implementation is going to provide the basis for the harmonization of CAN screening procedures in the Balkan area and therefore to produce valid, credible and comparable data. The development of a permanent and unified country-based CAN Monitoring System and the establishment of common methodologies in collecting data will enable the planning of appropriate CAN preventive strategies and initiations. Nine national Networks for the Prevention of Child Abuse are expected to operate as platforms for exchanging knowledge, good practices, professional experience and expertise regarding CAN- related issues and furthermore as open fora for dissemination of children’s welfare related information. Based on the upcoming research results, Network’s member-Organizations will have the opportunity to adjust their targets, update their initiatives, enrich and improve their activities towards prevention of CAN and promotion of mental health and wellbeing of children. BECAN will also provide news and information along with data that will come up as the program evolves, via www.becan.eu. A regular Press Office will also be working on the coordinator’s behalf, to provide the general public with information and data on CAN-related issues, in national and Balkan level.

Countries

North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Türkiye